Sunday, December 06, 2009
Magic Tree House Books
5.00 year old Prince C-Nut has been reading, mostly with Mom, the Magic Tree House series.
There are about 43 total books (80-110 pages apiece) and the Prince only has about 6 left to go. Things are moving along much faster now that I'm reading to him each morning/day in addition to the bedtime narration with his mother.
Are the books any good?
I don't know. I can't stand adult fiction so the kids' variety is particularly hard for me to digest.
But my son loves them and my wife does as well.
The premise is, well, two young kids who have a *magic tree house*. In it they get zipped around the world and through time to complete *missions* during which they bump into famous people, experience historical events, and learn some basic life lessons - I guess.
My son has probably absorbed a mega-ton of information from these books - not to mention achieving significant literacy along the way. The kid asks me so many questions while I'm reading that I often have to cut him off!
Do you know what a selkie is?
I certainly didn't - and had to look it up.
What about the Unicorn Tapestries?
Reading one of these Tree House books I realized that I had not once, but TWICE, seen them at The Cloisters in NYC.
And I didn't know the Eiffel Tower was built solely for the 1889 World's Fair - which featured luminaries like Thomas Alva Edison, Louis Pasteur, Gustave Eiffel, and the work of Alexander Graham Bell.
If I'm learning along with my son....then that must say something about their educational quality - I guess.
Pretty much anything we come across in the books that piques Prince C-Nut's interest or that he doesn't understand....I will email him links, images, Wikipedia....or even YouTube clips as I did this week of *Sumo Wrestling*. (Which came up in Book 37 Dragon Of The Red Dawn - where the twerps traveled back to 17th century Japan.)
It's just common educational sense to do whatever I can to make the stories relevant, memorable, and come alive, no?
The other day he and his mother mapped out where each of the journeys took Jack and Annie:
Now here's something that crazy. We're on Book 39 at the moment.
But go ask my son, "What was Book 9?" or "What was Book 17?", and in an instant he'll tell you the title!
There was no *assignment* to memorize this list. The kid just retained it all on his own. My wife and I were dumbfounded today when, after quizzing him on several books, he breezily answered them all correctly.
Note that neither of us can even remember the last 3 of these silly books - AND WE'RE THE ONES READING THEM!
As I typed this post up I've become convinced the series must be pretty darn good.
Borrow them from your library if you can - since you already bought them once via property taxes.