Read On!

Mrs. Farquharson’s musings about books for children and young adults

Magic Tree House


dinWhen Mary Pope Osborne wrote the first book in the Magic Tree House Series, it’s a fair guess that even she couldn’t imagine the number of readers whom she would reach. Dinosaurs Before Dark introduced young readers to a brother and sister, Jack and Annie, “who discover a magical tree house filled with books”. This was the first of many adventures that our young heroes have. Fifty-two books later, children are as enamored with the formula as ever. The joy of these books is that our youngest non-readers enjoy having the books read to them, while our independent readers consume them on their own. Consume is an apt term to describe our young readers who are hooked on the series. The titles appeal to boys and girls alike. Some insist on reading them in the order that they were published., while others choose their next book randomly.  It isn’t uncommon for a child to race to the library to request a specific volume; they insist that is the only way to be sure to read them all.

ancientAnother bonus to the Magic Tree House phenomena is that the author has also produced twenty-eight books in the Fact Tracker Series. These nonfiction companions to specific titles explore more information about the subject of a title in the original series. For example, Ancient Greece and the Olympics is the companion to Magic Tree House #16: Hour of the Olympics.  In the novel, Jack and Annie witness the first Olympic Games. The Fact Tracker details everything from Greek architecture to specific athletic events.

Parents may also enjoy the website that goes with the series. They do not have to register for their children to play some of the book related games.

Thank You Donald Sobol


From 1963 to 2012, Donald Sobol (1924-2012) brought the beloved character, Encyclopedia Brown, to life for children. His character, a boy detective who is infamous within his family because of his intelligence and intuition, has been a favorite of emerging readers right up to today. The author followed the same plot line in every one of his novels; the young readers follow along as Encyclopedia Brown collects his clues. Encyclopedia is the Idaville police force’s secret because who would believe that a ten-year-old could help solve cases? With the solutions for each case written at the end of each book, young readers can match their own skills as they enjoy one of their first chapter books.

Luck has nothing to do with it. – Encyclopedia Brown after solving a case

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