Thank goodness for this series of books! I first discovered them about 2 years ago when looking for longer stories for my nephew whose picture books weren’t enough of a story for him anymore. The series revolves around siblings Jack and Annie. They discover a tree house full of books and as they open each one, are transported to a time and place involving the book’s subject matter. The first in the series “Valley of the Dinosaurs” finds them whisked away to adventures with, you guessed it – dinosaurs. The author introduces a new topic or country in each book – from France in the Middle Ages to the prairies of America to the Moon, knights and castles, pirates, dolphins and the deep sea, to name but a few.
The style of the books are not only perfect as read aloud stories but also ideal for children learning to read and for those who have mastered reading skills and need to practice. They are thin paperbacks with black and white pictures, simple text and content. My nephew at 3 was able to understand the basics of the stories when read aloud to him at bedtime and as he collects the series he will be able to practice his reading skills before passing them on to his little sister! Whilst each book can be read as a stand alone story there is a plot line and quest revealed as you go through the series. The author has also written what she calls “Research Guides” which are factual books for children providing information about the times, places, and cultures Jack and Annie visit on their Magic Tree House adventures. As a result of the subject matter these books appeal not only to children interested in fiction but also to those who prefer non-fiction.