Learning with The Magic Tree House Series

We started this series a year ago. Our library has all The Magic Tree House books on both audio or paperback, we chose audio, so we can listen to them in the car as a family.

I can’t say enough about the books!  They are great, my kids LOVE them all! Mary Pope Osborne has done a wonderful job taking kids back to great points of history and creating an interesting story. I myself have even learned a few things 🙂

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Each book is set in a different time period, that Jack and Annie must travel to and complete missions. They discover a magic tree house in the woods in Frog Creek, Pennsylvania, and use the books to travel back and forth. Journey with them to far away lands: get lost in the Amazon, help a baby Panda, sail on a Pirate ship, walk on the Moon, fly with Da’Vinci, or find out how Mona Lisa got her famous smile! With over 50 books in the series, there is something for everyone!

We are on book #40 now.


Once you start reading the books, head over to The Magic Tree House website. Here you can go on missions and answer questions, afterwards you receive a souvenir for your own virtual tree house you can decorate.  You can also answer 3 questions about each book and earn a stamp in your Passport.  

My kids go to the website once a week and catch up on their newest books that they have finished. They love it!

This series is great for non-readers or readers. You are learning and enjoying a great adventure at the same time.

I highly encourage anyone that has not picked up these books to do so, your kids will thank you.

LOVE these books for beginning readers

My son and daughter both use these for beginning reader books. Mainly in Kindergarten, however, I still am having Lilly read to me (and she likes to read to her dolls) from these books most days. They use a ton of sight words and its just great for her to have confidence in reading her own book without me.

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If you have a Kinder,  I highly encourage you to check out your local library for books by Margaret Hillert, there are over 20, I’m not sure on an exact number.

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Book list for 1st and 2nd graders

Here is my hopeful list of books we will get through during this school year, 2014-2015.  Our kids will be in 2nd and 1st grade this year.  We use the library as our #1 source, only purchasing books if they do not have them.

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I would love to here your comments on the books on your list, a suggestion to add to mine, or your thoughts of any of the books below.

Finish up Burgess Bird Book by Thornton Burgess –FREE online

Mr. Poppers Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater

Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes

Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan –possibly the other books in the series also

Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu

The Real Boy by Anne Ursu

The Borrowers by Mary Norton

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks, along with the other 2 books in the series

Courage of Sarah Noble by Alice Dalgliesh

Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis

Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher

Other AudioBooks on our list to get through

The rest of The Magic Tree House series, we are on book #39 now

King of the Golden River by John Ruskin, FREE audio online

Parables from Nature by Alfred Gatty

Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling

50 Famous Stories Retold by James Baldwin

The Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket, 13 books

Robin Hood by Howard Pyle

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

The Red Fairy Book by Andrew Lang

Stink series by Megan McDonald

Books to be read for bedtime

Nurse Matilda by Christianna Brand, the movie Nanny McPhee was based off this book  (Lilly)

Hidden Stairs and the Magic Carpet by Tony Abbott, series of about 10 books I believe  (Turner)

The Sister’s Grimm series by Michael Buckley, 9 books in the series  (Lilly)

Ivy and Bean series by Annie Barrows, 9 books in the series  (Lilly)

*Yes, we will be busy this year reading some great literature and some just for fun!  I will give an update of what we thought on the book after completing it. Of course, we will be reading other stories, but this list is of the ‘major titles’ we will read together.


College by 12, hmm…..

I finished reading “The Brainy Bunch”, by Mona Lisa and Kip Harding about a month ago.  They have managed to send their kids to college by the age of 12. I was interested to read not only how they managed that, but how they encouraged their kids to want to pursue that level of education at a young age.

I don’t necessarily want my kids to be in college by the age of 12, but I wouldn’t be against it if they wanted it and were ready for it.  I’ve been to college and honestly, it’s not that challenging as long as you show up for every class and do the work. 100 level courses always seemed pretty high school to me. In Geography, we were talking about things I learned my sophomore year.  I’m not trying to downplay college, but I don’t think the 1st or 2nd year is that bad. And I agree with the Harding family that kids as young as 12 can succeed in college with the right mindset and plan. I loved how they talked about not just dropping off your kids and leaving them, that they stayed on the college campus so they felt safe.  Sometimes she even sat right outside the classroom.

In our family, the only plan we have right now is to provide a safe, loving place where they can learn. I do encourage them to work at higher levels than they would be in PS, but only if they are ready. I can see them graduating a few years early, around 15 or 16, if they ever had the drive to do it.  That’s the big thing for us and I’m sure the Harding family, their kids have that drive to succeed quickly, mine, as of now, do not.  I am already a firm believer that senior year in public HS is a waste, so I do hope my kids want to try and graduate early, but only time will tell.

The book was a great read, although I hoped for a little more information.  It helped me remember that following your child’s interests is important and can lead to that next level of success.  They really talked about that a lot in the book.

Here is an interview of the family.  If you haven’t read the book, it’s worth your time.

Anyone else’s thoughts on kids going to college at younger ‘than normal’ ages?  Are you planning for your child to graduate early?


A small book list…

Here are a few stories we read (in no particular order) and would recommend. The kids were 6 (K) and 7 (1st).  If there is a movie made after the book, we always watch that and compare the two.  The kids have always agreed that the book is so much better (so far).

Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor — 1992 Newberry Medal Award, 1994 Mark Twain Award   


The kids really loved this book, and we were finished in about 8 days.  They would ask me to read more and more.  Turner is really into anything dog.  They watched the 1st and 2nd movie.

Titanic Crossing by Barbara Williams — 1998 Mark Twain Award

My son really wanted to learn more about the Titanic, so we checked out a ton of non-fiction reading material, along with this fiction story. We didn’t enjoy the story that much, it’s okay, it just seemed a tad corny in places. Not sure if I would recommend.


Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White —  Newberry Honor

Another classic that is on most everyone’s list.  At this young age they really take to this story, and my kids enjoyed watching the movie afterwards (again and again).


A House is a House for Me by Mary Ann Hoberman

Short read, but very cute and wonderful illustrations. Perfect for young kids and beginning readers.


Hotel for Dogs by Lois Duncan

Great book, and a good way to talk about how the movies just mess it up sometimes 🙂  The movie was so far from the book, other than character names and the title it was completely different and a big let down (to both the kids and myself).  The book is very well written though.


Magic Tree House Series by Mary Pope Osborne

We have listened to books 1-37 so far, all on audiobooks checked out at our local library over the last year.  When we are in the car an audiobook is generally playing.  Both of my kids LOVE this series and they really learn a lot at the same time.  They also have an account online the main website and they can take a 3 question quiz afterwards and earn a badge.


Stewart Little by E.B. White

Another wonderful story by E.B. White that younger children will really enjoy.  We listened to this on audiobook.


Geronimo Stilton by Geronimo Stilton

An interesting series that takes you on many adventures through the eyes of a mouse.  We have listened to books 1-6 so far, our library doesn’t carry the rest of the series, I think I may recommend they get them though…. they are that good!


Ghost Detectors series by Dotti Enderle

Jason has been reading this series to Turner before bed.  Turner really enjoys it, although he could probably read these himself, we like to read to both kids before bed. They are on book #5.

Judy Moody series by Megan McDonald

This is the series I have been reading to Lilly before bed.  They are educational, as well as funny.  I enjoy them as much as Lilly.  We are on book #12.