It’s a day late, technically, (unless you’re one of those individuals that does Thanksgiving on Black Friday) but I wanted to start a series where, every year on, or very close to, Thanksgiving, I do a post thanking a book from my past.
So today, I’m gonna talk about the one that started it all: the book that got me into reading. If I’m being perfectly honest, though, it’s actually a series. Anyway, I’m gonna sing the praises of the Magic Treehouse series by Mary Pope Osborne.
About the Magic Treehouse
First Book’s Title: Dinosaurs Before Dark
First Book’s Publication Date: July 28, 1992
Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Myth, Children’s Fiction
Length of First Book: 80 pages
Book Description for Dinosaurs Before Dark
Read the #1 bestselling chapter book that started it all! Magic. Mystery. Time-travel. Get whisked back in time in the magic tree house with Jack and Annie!
Where did the tree house come from?
Before Jack and Annie can find out, the mysterious tree house whisks them to the prehistoric past. Now they have to figure out how to get home. Can they do it before dark…or will they become a dinosaur’s dinner?
The Magic Tree House series has been a beloved favorite for over 25 years and is sure to inspire a love of reading—and adventure—in every child who joins Jack and Annie!
Why I’m So Thankful for This Book (Series)
These books are very, very special to me. I hold them extremely close to my heart, despite the fact that I haven’t even spared any of them a passing glance in years. But I’ve never forgotten what this series has done for me as a writer, and most especially, as a reader.
The Magic Treehouse series not only ignited my passion for reading at a young age, but it also defined my favorite genre to read. Fantasy. I’m pretty sure these novels are considered “gateway” novels, as in, they are stories that get people into reading, and I completely agree.
I’m gonna tell you a little secret. Before I read Magic Treehouse, I actually hated reading. In like first grade, when my teacher made us do those reading exercises during free time after a test or something, or if we just had time allotted to it during that particular day, I would cheat. I would pretend to read the little booklets and then pretend to answer the questions that came with it (they were never collected or graded by the teacher). I would also frequently avoid reading most books if I could help it. They just weren’t engaging to me for some reason.
But then, everything changed when one day, on a whim, I picked up the first installment of the Magic Treehouse books, Dinosaurs Before Dark. And I’m not exaggerating at all when I say this book, and beyond it, this entire series, changed my life entirely. Mary Pope Osborne’s (very child friendly) prose enraptured my mind completely.
I was stunned. Before this, I had thought reading to be a chore; I didn’t find it fun in any sense of the word. But Magic Treehouse taught me that reading could be fun. It gave me hope that perhaps other books could invoke the same excitement and interest as this one. Books were no longer boring to me. Now, they were my favorite activity. I was soon reading every chance I had. And eventually, inspired by my newfound, lifelong love for books, I acquired the strong desire to craft things with my own words. And I owe all of this to this series.
So thank you, Mary Pope Osborne, for creating such fantastic stories. For encouraging me, and thousands of other young readers, to give reading a shot. For showing us how absolutely wonderful reading could be. Thank you, so very much. I would not be the person that I am today without your stories. And I hope they remain as accessible as they were for me, for a very long time. So that new generations of young children, who are uninterested in reading, to pick up a book and dive into an adventure.