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The Magic Treehouse is a successful series of children's books written by Mary Pope Osbourne. There are 48 books in the series so far, not counting the research guides that go along with them. The books are about two kids from Frog Creek, Pennsylvania, siblings Jack and Annie. In most of the books, Morgan le Fay orders them to go on missions through time and all around the world to solve ancient riddles, save ancient stories, and become Master Librarians. That was for the first 28 of the books, and the next series was about Jack and Annie going on Merlin's Missions, traveling to places like Camelot. The books teach kids about history and the different cultures that Jack and Annie visit.

There's also a Japanese adaptation with manga illustrations. They all contain paper dolls of Jack and Annie with outfits corresponding to the stories. The first 28 volumes were published into 14 Japanese volumes, two stories to a book. After that, each book was published individually. There was also an anime movie based on the book series.

Research guides about the settings of the books have been written for 22 of them.


Tropes used by the series:

  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Most of the series
  • American Civil War: Civil War On Sunday and the future Abe Lincoln at Last
  • The American Revolution: Revolutionary War On Wednesday
  • Ancient Egypt: Mummies in the Morning and the future Autumn in Ancient Egypt
  • Animorphism: Teddy the dog is actually a human boy who accidentally put himself into a spell by mistake. Also, Morgan spends four books as a white mouse due to a prank pulled by Merlin.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: For some reason a lot of the Historical Domain Characters know a lot more about the tree house and the kids' missions than they should and are suspiciously cooperative.
    • But this is averted in Good Night For Ghosts with Louis Armstrong. He has no clue about it and is just too busy making money for his family. After using the Wand of Dianthus and Louis having no sense of what to do next Annie tells Jack that they actually have to show him the book to set things straight.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Tonight on the Titanic. Foregone Conclusion, obviously, but Jack and Annie manage to save two children.
  • Brick Joke: In books 32-36, Annie and Jack are given a book of spells from their friends. Annie is constantly trying to find a use for the spell 'Turn People into Ducks', but is constantly turned down by her brother. When they are trying to save a unicorn in Blizzard of the Blue Moon from two apprentices from a dark wizard, she immediately uses the spell explaining that she memorized it a long time ago.
  • Bully Hunter: Annie in Twister on Tuesday when her brother is being picked on.
  • Cats Are Magic: Mummies in the Morning has a cat that leads Jack and Annie to a pyramid, and successfully leads them out of one.
  • Cats Are Mean: Sunset of the Sabertooth
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Teddy the dog is actually a boy, and he returns in a later book to help Jack and Annie.
  • Cowboy Episode: Ghost Town at Sundown.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Annie runs into this at least twice (Hour Of The Olympics and Stage Fright On A Summer's Night) concerning the roles of women.
  • Downer Ending: Vacation Under The Volcano takes place in a nice peaceful town called Pompeii...
  • Edutainment
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: Dinosaurs Before Dark, the very first book.
  • Kangaroos Represent Australia: Dingoes At Dinnertime, had Jack and Annie meeting up with a kangaroo and taking care of her joey.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: Tigers at Twilight and Good Morning Gorilla had monkeys.
  • Everything's Better with Penguins: Eve of the Emperor Penguins, and the titular penguin Penny who lives in Camelot.
  • Everything's Squishier with Cephalopods: Dark Day In The Deep Sea has this with a Kraken.
  • Everything's Worse with Bears: Subverted in Stage Fright On A Summer's Night. The dancing bear's actually one of the nicer characters.
    • And averted in Polar Bears Past Bedtime with a mother polar bear and her adorable cubs.
  • Exact Words: In Blizzard of the Blue Moon, Jack and Annie need to call out the name of a unicorn known as 'Divine Flower of Rome'. Unfortunately, neither of them knew that they were supposed to say his name in Latin--which is Dianthus--and thus got them into a bit of trouble later on.
  • Excellent Adventure: All of their stories.
  • Exty Years From Now: Midnight on the Moon takes place 40 years in the future (the book was made in 1996, so it takes place 2036)
  • Foregone Conclusion: In Earthquake in the Early Morning, Jack read that many of the books that were being transferred were all going to burn...unfortunately, the librarian didn't listen to him...
  • Four Is Death: Each arc is made out of 4 books together and something happens within each one of them. Most notably is arc 21-24 which has (In order): Civil War, Revolutionary War, Twisters and the San Francisco Earthquake.
  • Free-Range Children: The trope is averted by having no time pass while the treehouse takes the eight and seven year olds anywhere or anytime in the world.
  • Friendly Playful Dolphin: In "Dolphins At Day Break," Jack and Annie are saved by friendly dolphins that allow Jack and Annie to ride them.
  • Genki Girl: Annie.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Annie
  • Heroic Dog: The subject of the next book Dogs in the Dead of Night.
  • Green Aesop: Occasionally.
  • Historical Domain Character:
  • Horny Vikings: Viking Ships At Sunrise
  • Injun Country: Buffalo Before Breakfast
  • In the Past Everyone Will Be Famous: Occurs several times, as evident with the other trope entries on this page.
  • Kangaroo Pouch Ride: Inverted in Dingos at Dinnertime. The Joey hops into Jack's backpack believing that it's a pouch.
  • King Arthur: Well, Morgan lives at Camelot.
  • Magic Music: The Wand of Dianthus becomes a magical music instrument in books 41-44, but Jack and Annie must make up their own lyrics for each song.
  • The Middle Ages: The Knight At Dawn
  • Mummy: Mummies in the Morning
  • The Musical: Information for the curious here. It involved Camelot.
  • Ninjas: Night of the Ninjas
  • Not Allowed to Grow Up: Averted. It seems this way as we are constantly told that Jack is 7 and Annie is 6. But in Winter of the Ice Wizard, Annie states that she's 9 and Jack is already 10 which means at most 3 years have past since that time.
  • Oh Crap: Whenever something bad happens, poor Jack will be thinking this.
  • Olympic Games: The original ones, natch.
  • Panthera Awesome: Lions At Lunchtime and Tigers at Twilight.
  • Pirates: Pirates Past Noon
    • Pirate Parrot: Also seen. Was really Morgan le Fay keeping an eye on the kids.
  • Ravens and Crows: The subject on Haunted Castle on Hallow's Eve.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: The poems and magic spells that are used in the book all rhyme.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: The HUMONGOUS Sea Serpent in Summer of the Sea Serpent.
  • Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Jack and Annie are a sibling example.
  • Speaks Fluent Animal: Somehow Annie is able to communicate with animals, be it a pterodon or a raven.
  • Spiders Are Scary: To Annie they are. And it didn't help that in Summer of the Sea Serpent they needed help from the Spider Queen...
  • Story Arc: Usually each arc takes place over four books.
  • Taken for Granite: Happens to the royal court in Christmas At Camelot
    • And books 45-48 show that poor Penny's under this spell too!
  • Tentacle Rope: The cover of Japanese book #25.
  • Time Travel: And HOW.
    • Unfortunately they can't change any thing that will happen (Pompeii and Titanic are prominent examples) but they can alter a few stuff. In Civil War On Sunday they save a drummer boy who would become their great-great-great grandfather and Earthquake in the Early Morning had them be taken in a photograph with a piece of wood that had words of hope on it.
  • Thanksgiving Episode: Thanksgiving On Thursday, with the original Pilgrims and Indians.
  • Theme Naming: The books are named after a time of day, a day of the week, or a holiday.
  • The Messiah: Annie has to help EVERYONE, nevermind the mission at hand.
    • Although to be fair, they actually help out on the mission so it is justified.
  • Tomboy: Annie is more adventurous than her brother and is defensive of anyone or anything being threatened.
  • Treehouse of Fun: Treehouse of MAGIC!
  • Victorian Britain: A Ghost Tale for Christmas Time. Charles Dickens is a character.
  • Why Did It Have To Be Spiders?: Annie can go through just about anything...but has a CRIPPLING fear of spiders. Shown prominently in Summer of the Sea Serpent.
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