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*Magic Tree House #34: Season of the Sandstorms* by Mary Pope Osborne- young readers fantasy book review
Also by Mary Pope Osborne:

Magic Tree House #43: Leprechaun in Late Winter

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

Magic Tree House #36: Blizzard of the Blue Moon

Magic Tree House #37: Dragon of the Red Dawn

Magic Tree House Research Guide: Tsunamis & Other Natural Disasters

The Random House Book of Bible Stories
Magic Tree House #34: Season of the Sandstorms
by Mary Pope Osborne
Ages 9-12 128 pages Random House June 2005 Paperback    

Mary Pope Osborne’s The Magic Tree House has become a beloved series for children age four to eight. Jack and Annie, siblings from Frog Creek, Pennsylvania, discover a tree house near their home that has the ability to take them to faraway lands and different time periods. The owner of the tree house, Arthurian legend Morgan Le Fay, sends the children on special time-traveling adventures.

Beginning with Magic Tree House #29: Christmas in Camelot, Osborne introduced young readers to a new twist on Jack and Annie’s travels with “Merlin Missions.” These were specific instructions for the children’s adventures handed down by Merlin the magician.

In Magic Tree House #34: Season of the Sandstorms , Jack and Annie receive their assignment: a journey to ancient Baghdad, once known as Mesopotamia, “to help the caliph spread wisdom to the world.” They make a wish on the book Merlin has left in the tree house—The Golden Age of Baghdad—and are whisked away to another time and place.

Braving sandstorms and bandits, Jack and Annie make their way across the desert toward Baghdad. They meet a band of merchants, traveling from Greece to Baghdad, led by a kind man called Mamoon. Mamoon offers to let the children ride with them the rest of the way to the city. During the journey, a particularly vicious sandstorm separates Jack and Annie from the merchants, but they are still in possession of a treasure Mamoon entrusted to their protection. The children must complete the mission alone and find a way to return the lost treasure to its rightful owner.

As with all books in the series, Osborne provides a wealth of cultural and historical information in the story itself. Continuing the educational features of the book, the story is followed up with several pages of general facts about the city of Baghdad, a fun puzzle relating to the story, a delicious recipe using food native to Iraq, an experiment, a project, and finally, a teaser from the next book in the series: Night of the New Magicians. The book is no less than a curriculum unit packed into 130 pages.

In addition, the reader can visit the Magic Tree House website ( for more activities and a short quiz to earn a stamp for the “Official Magic Tree House Passport,” which is printable online. Each of the 37 core books published so far is represented by a quiz to earn a stamp to mark the reader’s progress on the passport.

One would expect that a series with so many books would eventually become repetitive and the quality would deteriorate, but Osborne continually releases fresh, innovative new ideas that keep the reader hooked. This is, by far, some of the best children’s literature available today.

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  Sabrina Williams/2007 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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