Monday, February 29, 2016

MMGM- Magic Treehouse

It's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday at Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe and What Are You Reading? day at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers. It's also Nonfiction Monday.

25387398Osborne, Mary Pope. Balto of the Blue Dawn (Magic Tree House #54)
January 5th 2016 by Random House Books for Young Readers
Copy provided by the publisher

Jack and Annie are sent back to the Alaskan Territory in 1925, along with two kinds of magic powders: one will give them super skills that will help them with their mission, and the other will make everyone forget that they were there. They soon find out why they have been sent. They meet Oki, whose mother and sister are ill with diphtheria, and the medicine that they need has been delayed. Oki, whose uncle has sled dogs, is determined to set off to meet the dog sled teams that are delivering the medicine, but a bad storm is coming and his uncle does not want him to go. Jack and Annie use their magic powder to give them the knowledge and skill they need to become expert "mushers", and they take off. They manage to find Balto and Gunnar Kaasen just in time for him to discover that the package with the serum is missing. They find the package, and the delivery is made in time. Once they are sure that all is well, they travel back to Frog Creek and are glad to be warm!

The Magic Tree House books have been around for a very long time, and are a great introduction to a variety of historical events for beginning readers. They cover the basics, but I appreciate when they delve a little into some of the controversies: after reading Klimo's Togo, I knew that there were some issues with whether or not Balto was the dog who deserves the most acclaim. That is addressed briefly while still acknowledging that many dogs and mushers worked hard to avert catastrophe. 

A definite purchase for all elementary libraries, and a series which also does well with my struggling 6th grade readers. I appreciate that the cover style has remained the same over the past 23 years! I wonder if there will be a big party for the 25th anniversary in July of 2017? 

25387340Osborne, Mary Pope and Boyce, Natalie Pope. Dogsledding and Other Extreme Sports.(Fact Tracker #34)
January 5th 2016 by Random House Books for Young Readers
Copy provided by the publisher

This nonfiction companion to Balto of the Blue Dawn offers some very helpful information about the details of dog sledding, as well as additional information about the 1925 race to get medicine to Nome, and how this is celebrated in the running of the Iditarod. There were many things that I learned, even though I've read a number of books about dog sledding! There are also chapters about other extreme sports, such as mountain climbing, skateboarding, and the X Games. People who are famous for their endurance in many areas are given brief biographical coverage-- my favorite was Diana Nyad and her swimming, but there is also information about Ironman athletes and several professional skateboarders. 

The Fact Tracker books are wonderful to have along with the stories, especially since there are appendices with further resources, both print and digital, at the end of the boks. There are a lot of great online resources available at as well, including printable worksheets. The large print and clear layouts of these books make them a great introduction to nonfiction for early readers who are meeting an index for the first time. 

I can't wait to see what the next adventure will be!


Elisabeth Ellington said...

Thanks for sharing! I need to booktalk the Magic Treehouse series in my Children's Lit class but it's been ages since I've read one and wasn't sure where to start. This actually sounds like a great pairing! I also wanted to thank you for your GoodReads reviews. Yesterday I was trying to find a "funny book" at my son's request--he's recovering from a concussion and pretty much can't do anything since he's on cognitive and physical rest. We're reading aloud a lot and I don't really do funny middle-grade myself. I wasn't having much luck on the various booklists that I Googled, but then I found your review of The Worst Class Trip Ever and went from there, skimming your 5-star reviews. I'm now set up for our next 6 or 7 readalouds! What a great resource your reviews are--really appreciate it!

Katie Logonauts said...

My students LOVE Magic Tree House too. Can't believe it's been 25 years!? I really appreciated when they started coming out with the nonfiction pairings, such a great resource. Thanks for sharing these!

Greg Pattridge said...

Wow. Time flies. I saw a batch of Magic Tree House books at a garage sale last spring but didn't snag them in time. Thanks for sharing this and the non-fiction companion.

Ms. O said...

SHHHHHHHHHH I am a terrible elem librarian. Never read a MTH. Not a one. They never seemed to need me to push them so I didn't. We used to need two of each. Now just one but they still go out.

Myra Garces Bacsal said...

Love Mary Pope Osborne books - can't go wrong with them.

Rosi said...

I haven't read a MTH book in years. I do love the story of Balto, so I might pick this one up. Thanks for the review.

Kellee Moye (@kelleemoye) said...

I actually haven't read any Magic Tree House books, but I have always meant to. They've been around forever, but I just haven't ever gotten around to them. SOON!

Happy reading this week :)

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