Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Dinosaurs Before Dark by Mary Pope Osborne (Magic Tree House Series #1)

Overview from Barnes and Noble.com:
Jack and Annie are ready for their next fantasy adventure in the bestselling middle-grade series—the Magic Tree House!

Where did the tree house come from?

Before Jack and Annie can find out, the mysterious tree house whisks them to the prehistoric past. Now they have to figure out how to get home. Can they do it before dark . . . or will they become a dinosaur's dinner?

Visit the Magic Tree House website!

My thoughts:
When I taught second grade this is the first book from the series that I ran across.  It was recommended to be used in a unit on dinosaurs I was teaching.  It got me hooked on the series and I have used it in the classroom and at home with my own children.  My children are listening to the book for at least the third time, and I know the older two have read it to themselves already as well.  I felt like heading back to the beginning of the series and checked out the first eight books on audio last week.  I love that they take less than an hour to listen to, so often in the course of running around in one day we can hear a whole story and I am enjoying sharing them with my younger children now too since I don't know how well they were listening or comprehending the last time around.

Now Jack and Annie are the same age as my children so I have been trying to picture if they would be as together if this sort of magic travel were to happen to them.  In this first book the stage is set for the series that comes behind it.  Annie find the tree house and goes up to explore while Jack keeps telling her to come back, then he is tempted to come up the rope ladder too by the lure of books, a careless wish whisks them off to prehistoric times and Jack starts to take notes on what they are seeing.  While the wording for their travels is always the same, it is comforting in a way.  All of my children can repeat that part and I can remember my students repeating it as well when we would read the books at school.  It might border on tedious for an adult, but children love that repetition!  I also love that Osborne started with dinosaurs since they are so universally appealing to children.  I am hoping I can get my children to work their way through the series again with me this summer. 

•Pub. Date: July 1992

•Publisher: Random House Children's Books
•Format: Paperback , 68pp
•Age Range: 6 to 8
•Series: Magic Tree House Series #1
•ISBN-13: 9780679824114
•ISBN: 0679824111

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