The Magic Treehouse Series
By Mary Pope Osbourne
Grade Levels: 1-5
It’s been a while since we recommended a book for younger learners. But this recommendation will keep them reading for quite a while. The Magic Tree House is a series of books by author Mary Pope Osbourne, the first of which was published in 1992 and is still seeing current releases! For students who have mainly been reading picture books and been read to by parents, these are a great series of books to grab their attention and motivate them to push themselves to read chapter books on their own.
In the first book, siblings Jack and Annie find the eponymous magic tree house with the power to transport them throughout space and time. After escaping a close encounter with dinosaurs in the first book, they meet the owner of the tree house, Morgan le Fay of the King Arthur legend. The subsequent books see them performing missions for Morgan as she sends them across the universe to different places and times. This frame serves as a great way to introduce the readers to new settings, including books that explore historical subjects (Ancient Egypt in book 3) and scientific ones (the Ice Age in book 7).
The books are an excellent example of children's books done well - they are fast-paced without being too scary, and they present a new setting each book while keeping the formula similar enough to be accessible for new readers. Books in the series have been honored by various organizations and listed as book of the year for School Library Journal, Parents’ Magazine, The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, and Bank Street College of Education. Osbourne has also been president of the Authors Guild and chaired its Children's Book Committee during her career. These books are a surefire way to draw in young readers with a wide range of interests, and pretty soon you won’t be able to get your child to stop reading!