Title: Dinosaurs Before Dark (Magic Tree House, No. 1)
Magic Tree House #37: Dragon of the Red Dawn
Author: Mary Pope Osborne
Illustrator: Salvatore Murdocca
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: 1992 to present
Genre/Format: Fantasy/Chapter Book - Series
Summary: In Magic Tree House #37: Dragon of the Red Dawn, Jack and Annie are awoken by their magical friends, Teddy and Kathleen. They find out they are being sent on a mission to Japan to find one of the secrets of happiness. They set out with the Wand of Dianthas to work towards helping Merlin by discovering the secrets of happiness.
What I Think: I have a renewed love for the Magic Tree House series since so many of my students have been reading books from the series lately. This series came out when I was in middle school so I didn't read these when I was a kid. I've read one or two before, but I decided to read Dragon of the Red Dawn ( Magic Tree House # 37, A Merlin Mission ) this weekend because I have two students read it currently. I can definitely see the charm of these books. I love time travel, and these kids get to time travel and go on adventures to real places and places in time.
From a teacher's perspective, I really like that there is the element of history in these stories so kids are inadvertently learning about different places and cultures. At the same time, they are experiencing a story and a story with some fantastical elements in it. I would dub these books "mild" fantasy because they do time travel and there are magical elements, but it is a story about real kids. I love when my students get into series reading, and this is one series I think is truly beneficial to them on so many different levels. On the Magic Tree House website there are some fun interactive elements for kids, but it also has teacher's guides and printables! Love it!
Read Together: 1 - 5
Read Alone: 2 - 6
Read With: Other books in the series; Fish Face (The Kids of the Polk Street School) and other books by Patricia Reilly Giff; Triplet Trouble and the Bicycle Race and other books by Debbie Dadey and Marcia T. Jones; Vampires Don't Wear Polka Dots (The Adventures Of The Bailey School Kids) and other books by Marcia T. Jones and Debbie Dadey; Lucky Dog Days (Pee Wee Scouts) and other books by Judy Delton
Snatch of Text: "Below the tree house was a beautiful garden filled with cherry trees and long-leafed willows. A waterfall tumbled into a sparkling green pool.
'Wow,' said Annie.
Jack opened the Japan book and found a painting that looked like the garden. He read aloud to Annie:
In the 1600s, the Imperial Garden surrounded the Imperial Palace in the capital city of Japan. The city was called Edo (say EE-doh). In the mid-1800s, its name was changed to Tokyo (say TOH-kee-oh)."
Reading Strategies to Practice: Activating Background Knowledge, Making Connecitions, Asking Questions, Making Predictions, Making Inferences
Writing Strategies to Practice: Expository Writing
Writing Prompts: Choose one of the ideas discussed in the book you read, then research more about the idea and write a paragraph that has a topic sentence and supporting details.
Topics Covered: Family, Friendship, Time Travel, Magic, Camelot/Merlin, Adventure, Problem-Solving, History, Geography
Translated to Spanish: Yes! I'm not sure if all the books in the series are, but there are books that have been translated to Spanish.