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Young readers book reviews for ages 8 to 12 years old

*Magic Tree House #36: Blizzard of the Blue Moon* by Mary Pope Osborne- young readers book review
Also by Mary Pope Osborne:

Magic Tree House #43: Leprechaun in Late Winter

Magic Tree House #34: Season of the Sandstorms

Magic Tree House #37: Dragon of the Red Dawn

Polar Bears and the Arctic (Magic Tree House Research Guides)

Magic Tree House Research Guide: Tsunamis & Other Natural Disasters

The Random House Book of Bible Stories
Magic Tree House #36: Blizzard of the Blue Moon by Mary Pope Osborne
Ages 9-12 144 pages Random House December 2007 Paperback    

Jack and Annie return for another Merlin Mission in Magic Tree House #36: Blizzard of the Blue Moon by Mary Pope Osborne. This title has possibly the most beautiful cover of any out of the series, coated with a thick layer of glittery snow. Of course, true magic can be expected with an illustration of Jack and Annie emerging from New York City on the back of a unicorn. The collectible window cling that comes with the book features this illustration, as well as the cover.

The wizard Merlin decreed in a previous installment that the children must visit four actual places to prove they can use their magic responsibly. They have three remaining magic riddles to use as tools. The two siblings are awaiting their fourth assignment when the magic tree house finally reappears. This time Morgan le Fay, magical librarian of Camelot, has left them with a poetry-embossed scroll and the New York City Guide Book from 1938. Annie is particularly excited to learn the assignment is to find a unicorn hidden somewhere in New York.

The children tell the book they are ready to travel and are whisked away to a New York of the past, one that probably will not take a couple of unicorn hunters too seriously. The city is right in the midst of a blizzard as the children head into Central Park to begin their search. Jack reads lots of interesting facts about the park as the siblings work their way around the area. Meanwhile, two cloaked figures seem to be lurking in the shadows, following Jack and Annie. Could it be their old friends, Teddy and Kathleen?

The historical relevance of the year 1938 is that Jack and Annie have landed in New York during the Great Depression. Part of their learning experience is observing the sense of hopelessness and desperation as they pass the legions of people on line at a soup kitchen. They notice how happily a beggar reacts to Jack’s simple nickel donation. “Hard times,” they keep reminding themselves.

While the Magic Tree House series has always been known for its educational qualities, this installment is particularly jammed full of information. Important landmarks are noted, historical eras are explored, and the past and present are contrasted. All of this is strategically woven into the storyline, which is absolutely enchanting. There is even a hint of evil thrown in, and mention of the Dark Wizard. When the story is over, the reader can complete word puzzles and follow instructions to construct their own snow globe.

As with other installments in the series, the reader can visit to answer a few trivia questions and earn a new stamp for their Magic Tree House Passport. There is also an accompanying “Battle the Blizzard” game. Each book is essentially a ready-made lesson plan for children aged nine to twelve. Blizzard of the Blue Moon opens with a letter from Mary Pope Osborne; in her words, “No matter what disasters it suffers, New York City always comes back.” Through Osborne’s eyes, one can hardly disagree.
Young readers book reviews for ages 8 to 12 years old

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  Sabrina Williams/2008 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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