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CompleteMartialArts.com - Magic Tree House Boxed Set, Books 1-4: Dinosaurs Before Dark, The Knight at Dawn, Mummies in the Morning, and Pirates Past Noon

Magic Tree House Boxed Set, Books 1-4: Dinosaurs Before Dark, The Knight at Dawn, Mummies in the Morning, and Pirates Past Noon
List Price: $15.96
Our Price: $10.85
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Manufacturer: Random House Books for Young Readers
Average Customer Rating: Average rating of 4.5/5Average rating of 4.5/5Average rating of 4.5/5Average rating of 4.5/5Average rating of 4.5/5

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Binding: Paperback
EAN: 9780375813658
Format: Box set
ISBN: 0375813659
Label: Random House Books for Young Readers
Manufacturer: Random House Books for Young Readers
Number Of Items: 4
Publication Date: 2001-05-29
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Reading Level: Ages 4-8
Release Date: 2001-05-29
Studio: Random House Books for Young Readers

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Editorial Reviews:

Get ready for a world of adventure with the first four titles in the beloved Magic Tree House series!

Jack and his little sister Annie are just two regular kids from Frog Creek, Pennsylvania. Then they discover a mysterious tree house packed with all sorts of books...and their lives are never the same! Soon they are traveling through time and space in the magic tree house and having amazing adventures. Whether it's watching baby dinosaurs hatch, finding a secret passage in a castle, helping a ghost queen in an Egyptian pyramid, or finding pirate treasure readers won't want to miss a single story!


Spotlight customer reviews:

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: I love these books
Comment: I have spent many hours with Jack and Annie.These books are so interesting and my favorite one is number 14.I have almost completed the whole series.I have been reading them for 2 years.I wish I could live in the magic tree house too.I love Magic tree house.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5
Summary: We like the stories, but the grammar gives this teacher-mom a serious headache!
Comment: Pros: Fine for read aloud. Exciting stories for young (K-1st) grade children who are ready for chapter books.

Cons: Serious grammar and usage problems that may rub off on the children's own writing. Poorly-developed plotlines with not enough "meat" for the age level of children they are meant to target.

I have used these books as read-aloud for my two children. Currently I am reading them aloud at nighttime to our daughter, age six. Our daughter reads on a second-grade level, however, and has started reading these books independently, only coming to me for help with words she cannot sound out.

I didn't mind the grammar and phrasing problems when using these books strictly as read aloud, because I could correct the problems on my own as I read. However, Mary Pope Osborn seems to really enjoy the use of incomplete sentences, particularly those starting with "and". As a former second grade teacher this really, really gives me a nervous twitch in my eye! This is only the most egregious and obvious of the grammar and phrasing problems that, for whatever reason, go unnoticed by Ms. Osborn's editors and by Ms. Osborn herself.

I won't go ahead and give specific examples, since this has been well covered by previous reviewers. However, I do want to add my voice to the voices of those parents and educators who worry that this modeling of incorrect grammar may well rub off on young fans of the series. When I was teaching second grade, the students would have been expected to catch and then edit these type of mistakes out of their Writer's Workshop stories by about mid-January. I certainly expect a published author to be able to have as much respect for grammar and readability as my second grade students! I can respect an author's "style" to a degree, but I do believe that an author of children's literature should at least use correct grammar rather than "dumbing down" the sentences in what I suspect is a misguided attempt to make them easier for the children to read. (Children are smarter -- and better educated -- than you think, Ms. Osborn!)

On a positive note, the stories do keep our daughter engaged and excited, as they did our son when he was her age. However, the plots are extremely simplistic, bare bones, just plain not well developed. The actual reading level appears to be that of an average late first to second grade reader, yet my experience is that second graders expect a bit more "meat" to their stories. I know that by late second grade our son had, for example, moved on to the Chronicles of Narnia. The Magic Tree House set is, in my opinion, excellent for read aloud for kindergarten and first grade readers and perhaps as independent reading for first graders, struggling second graders, or those children who have problems with attention span. However, the teacher or parent of any independent reader will have to take care that Ms. Pope's writing style does not negatively impact the emerging writing skills of the child.

In short... Ms. Osborn, please correct your grammar!

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: Love these Books!!!!!!!
Comment: This is an excellent series to interest struggling readers in beginning chapter books. The series also has an educator's activity guide that is helpful.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: Great Read Aloud for young kids (4+) that teaches history
Comment: The Magic Tree House series is a great stepping stone between picture books and chapter books. Most books written for a pre-k listening level take place in a realistic setting, like school. Not so with the magic tree house, it takes Jack and Anne throughout time and space: from the time of the dinosaurs to the future when men have colonized the moon. The books are exciting to read: Jack and Anne are often in real danger, though you know they will always make it back home. These books are also available in an audio format. I recommend reading at least the first four books. If you, the adult reader, gets bored, try playing the audio versions.

I also think this box set makes a great birthday present for 4 and 5 year olds. At first the child can be read aloud to, and when they start reading, they can use it as an early reader.

The audio version of these books (read aloud by the author) is also worthwhile.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5
Summary: mixed feelings
Comment: I have mixed feelings about this series. My children (boys 5 & 3) love the books. They are easy enough for the younger one to follow, but exciting enough that the older one isn't bored. My biggest problem with them is the grammar. I would never let my children read these books themselves because I would never want them to think that the writing is correct. Luckily, by reading them aloud I can correct the mistakes without them even realizing it. Seriously though, the grammar is so poor that had not all the books been that way I would have assumed it was just something wrong with the printing machine. The author literally does not know what constitutes a sentence and she has no concept of the comma. Here are just a few examples (all found a single page no less!!):
1. "Let's leave the scroll on floor. And go," he said.

2. They walked together. Across the room. To the glowing gold box.

3. They stopped in front of the box. And they peered inside.

In all those cases she created fragment sentences instead of one regular sentence. She does this all the time. I think it was either in the first book or the second that I couldn't find a single page that didn't have a grammatical error. Both the author and the publisher should be ashamed of themselves.


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