Looking for the perfect chapter books for your child who is reading on a first or second grade level? The Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne is nothing short of remarkable. I asked my friend, Sonya, whose children are a few years ahead of mine in the homeschool realm, what she recommended when her budding little readers were ready for something a little bit challenging in the way of chapter books. Without hesitation, she told me about Magic Tree House.
These little books always have 10 chapters and a few illustrations to enjoy along with the stories that children (and adults) simply can’t put down. My six-year-old can’t wait for me to bring home another pile from the library. He then proceeds to devour them ravenously, sometimes three in one day! This series builds an amazing amount of reading confidence.
The two main characters, Jack and Annie, are 7 and 8 year old siblings who have found a tree house full of books in the woods. Each book begins with them arriving at the tree house and choosing a book that takes place somewhere in time where they end up going and having an adventure. In the form of a beautifully orchestrated literary allusion, Morgan Le Fay plays a magical librarian who needs their help on each adventure. The delightful stories whisk young readers to a time and place in history. Not only are they challenged by new vocabulary and encouraged by lots of easy reading, they are introduced to an historical event or era. Right now my son is reading one that takes place on an island monastery in Ireland during the time of the Vikings. It’s not really a history lesson, but in the future, when he hears someone mention the Vikings or monastic life, he’ll have a point of reference. And he’ll have one for Ancient Greece, Pompeii, The Civil War, The Revolutionary War, the time of the ninja warriors, The Arctic, the old west, the titanic, and the list goes on and on and on. As of now, there are 49 books. There are also non-fiction companion books to go along with some of the series. We have one on hold at the library and will have to let you know about those in the future.
I recommend reading along with the child, or being in the room when they are reading so that they can spell out and ask about new vocabulary. My son enjoys reading them out loud to me as well. I am so thrilled that we came across The Magic Tree House. Thanks Sonya, and thanks Mary Pope Osborne.
You can purchase the set of the first 28 books for about $60 on Amazon, but you can probably get them all at your local library. They do not have to be read in order, but the second set – after #28 is apparently just a bit more advanced.