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Friday, January 15, 2010

The Magic Treehouse

magic ttreehouse series dinosaurs before darkThe seven rainbow fairies, the seven weather-feather fairies, the seven jewel fairies, the seven petal fairies... we read them all, and re-read most of the Rainbow Magic series all through Fall 2009.

I have some sentimental fondness for the Rainbow Fairies, don't get me wrong. After all, it was Ana's first introduction to chapter books.

And, being a beginner reader, it has motivated her enough to start reading more fluently and with confidence. After I read a few chapters each night to her, I leave her favorite books in bed, with the light on. She gets to read them in her own way till lights out.

However, I was getting fairly tired of the banal, almost identical plots and I suspect Ana was ready to move on as well.

So, shortly before Christmas 2009, we started reading The Magic Treehouse series by Mary Pope Osborne.

We stepped into it with Dinosaurs Before Dark, the first book in the series, naturally, hoping to work our way up if this proves to be a hit.

Ana is hooked!

Jack & Annie have become her new buddies.

She wonders why Annie acts so silly when Jack tries to tell her to be careful...
She worries that they will hurt themselves...
She disapproves of the absconding parents in the books...
She wrinkles her nose at their seemingly cavalier attitude towards personal safety...
She imagines Jack & Annie possessing some special magic...

She has asked Appa to build a treehouse for her in the backyard :)

We've read the first 6 so far. If I don't pace it out, we'll soon be caught up. And, am glad my library takes its time to fill our hold requests.

With minimal illustrations depicting certain key scenes, short and easy sentences with good pacing, interesting story line, some good information, and just a few chapters, this series has become my current favorite.

Before this series, Ana had no reason to know about ninjas and I had no reason to tell her what I've read about them. But thanks to Night of the Ninjas (Magic Tree House, No. 5), Ana knows enough about them to satisfy her curiosity. Every little tidbit collected at this age could potentially help her discover her world just that much more.

The books help branch out and gather more information and see how they all fit into our understanding of the universe we live in. As we grow older, a lot of the understanding of the world comes from this collective consciousness, this collective knowledge we call facts about how things work, how they used to work, how we can use this information to make things work for us and so on. In that sense, books to me have always been the magic key that unlocks new worlds - be it within our consciousness or without.

As she grows older, the lines between fantasy and reality might get strongly demarcated, but, for now, I am glad it remains blurry to satisfy her curiosity and her flights of fancy - just what I hope books would do...

I am rambling... No matter. I gather from my senior cohorts that it is possible that kids slow down, and possibly stay off reading for periods of time. If that happens with Ana (or Og), I am happy to know that it is not uncommon, or that it is my fault somehow :)

For now, I am happy that she enjoys her adventures with Jack & Annie.

And for those in-between times before the next Jack & Annie adventure, we have a plethora of picture books to enjoy, not to mention the Click and Ladybug magazines. The fascination for picture books will never fade, I hope... the ones Nana has filled our bookshelves with, plus some refreshingly interesting ones from the library thanks to Saffron Tree, will hopefully sustain us well...

[picture courtesy]

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At 6:27 AM, Blogger Praba said...

That's awesome, Sheels!! Great that Ana is loving Jack and Annie!They were our favorites end of preschool years entering kg.

At 12:26 PM, Blogger Sheela said...

Keep 'em coming, Praba - your lists and recommendation on Saffron Tree is invaluable!

At 10:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 8:54 AM, Blogger Sangi said...

My kids love these too. Have you tried their research guides? The one of Leonardo Da Vinci and others in his time (Michelangelo and others) is really good. Do check them out.

At 1:01 PM, Blogger Sheela said...

Yes, Sangi, we've been reading the Non-Fiction Companions for the Magic Treehouse as I noted here. They are great, aren't they? Just the right level of info for the kids, and it keeps them intrigued... Ana couldn't get enough about Sabertooth and Neanderthals :)


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