Literature: The Magic Treehouse
This book inspired a plethora of equally outrageous adventures.The Magic Treehouse
is a successful series of children's books written by Mary Pope Osbourne. There are over fifty 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/kid heroes
Jack and Annie. In the inaugural series, 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 Missions (missions directed by Merlin the magician
), 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 by Ajia-Do
based on the book series.
As of August 2012, nonfiction companions called Magic Treehouse Fact Trackers books have been written for 27 of the original series.
Tropes used by the series:
- Added Alliterative Appeal: Most of the series.
- American Civil War: Civil War On Sunday and Abe Lincoln at Last
- The American Revolution: Revolutionary War On Wednesday
- Ancient Egypt: Mummies in the Morning
- 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.
- Jack and Annie also get into this too. They were transformed into ravens along with Teddy in Haunted Castle on Hallow's Eve and were turned into dogs in Dogs in the Dead of Night. Annie also transformed two rival wizards into ducks in Blizzard of the Blue Moon.
- Arbitrary Skepticism: Annie is afraid to enter an Old West ghost town. Jack attempts to reassure her by saying there's no such thing as ghosts, but as she points out, this is clearly untrue, as they met one in ancient Egypt.
- Bears Are Bad News: Subverted in Stage Fright On A Summer's Night. The dancing bear's actually one of the nicer characters.
- Averted in Polar Bears Past Bedtime with a mother polar bear and her adorable cubs.
- And briefly discussed in Haunted Castle on Hallow's Eve.
- 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.
- 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 that teleported them to his time to set things straight.
- Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, Louis Pasteur, and Gustave Eiffel from Night of the New Magicians seem to think that Jack and Annie are crazy. They're nice about it, though.
- In the "Master Librarians" story arc, Jack and Annie find that the wise people they show their cards to on each journey are familiar with the organization and even with Morgan herself.
- Bittersweet Ending: Tonight on the Titanic. Foregone Conclusion, obviously, but Jack and Annie manage to save two children.
- Perfect Time For Pandas has got to be an ironic title, considering that Jack and Annie were transported to the time of the Great Sichuan Earthquake of 2008. The Result? Only 2 out of 16 roly-poly pandas in the reserve that they traveled to live.
- Bratty Half-Pint: Wolfie in Moonlight on the Magic Flute (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart as a child).
- 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 of 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. It's revealed in the next book that this was Morgan looking after them.
- 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.
- Chronic Hero Syndrome: We could almost call the trope "Annie Syndrome"— Annie immediately wants to help any human or animal the siblings come across who is in any sort of trouble.
- Cowboy Episode: Ghost Town at Sundown.
- Creepy Crows: The subject on Haunted Castle on Hallow's Eve.
- Cuteness Proximity: Annie to the pandas in Perfect Time for Pandas.
- 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.
- The Ditz: Annie has her moments, her being the younger of the two.
- Downer Ending: Vacation Under The Volcano takes place in a nice peaceful town called Pompeii...
- In Abe Lincoln at Last, Jack and Annie befriend President Lincoln's young son Willie. When they return, they find out that he died of typhoid fever a year later.
- 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, Gorillas had monkeys and apes respectively.
- Everything's Better with Penguins: Eve of the Emperor Penguin, 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.
- 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, the poem didn't state that the two had to say his name in Latin — which is Dianthus — and thus got them into a bit of trouble later on.
- 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 in 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 — or at most ten minutes — while the treehouse takes the eight and seven year old to anywhere they want.
- 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.
- Haunted Castle: Haunted Castle on Hallow's Eve
- Heroic Dog: The subject of the book Dogs in the Dead of Night.
- Heroic Dolphin: After Annie saves one from being eaten by pirates it pops up to save Jack, leading him to Annie and ultimately saving the day.
- 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.
- Invisibility: The supposed ghosts in Haunted Castle on Hallow's Eve are actually three kids and their dog trapped in their state because the Raven King stole the Diamond of Destiny they were supposed to guard.
- 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.
- Magic Wand: The Wand of Dianthus, a unicorn horn.
- The Middle Ages: The Knight At Dawn
- Mummy: Mummies in the Morning
- The Musical: Information for the curious here. It involved Camelot.
- Mysterious Protector: Two hooded figures protect Jack and Annie throughout books 33 to 36. It's Teddy and Kathleen, spying on them to make sure the siblings are doing their job.
- 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 passed since that time.
- Oh, Crap: Whenever something bad happens, poor Jack will be thinking this.
- Olympic Games: The original ones, natch.
- Outdoorsy Gal: Annie is the first one to climb into the treehouse that will take them anywhere and the first one to jump into adventure when they get where they're going.
- Pandaing to the Audience: Perfect Time For Pandas.
- Panthera Awesome: Sunset of the Sabertooth, 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.
- Ptero Soarer: Annie befriends a Pteranodon, whom she names Henry, in "Dinosaurs Before Dark".
- 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 Pteranodon 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 anything that will happen (Pompeii and Titanic are prominent examples), but they can alter some minor details. 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.
- Threatening Shark: The hammerhead shark from Dolphins At Day Break.
- Treehouse of Fun: Treehouse of MAGIC!
- Tyrannosaurus rex: The main threat of Dinosaurs Before Dark.
- Unicorn: The subject of Blizzard of the Blue Moon.
- 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.
- In Afternoon on the Amazon, Jack complains about this, saying that doesn't understand how she can be freaked out about visiting a jungle full of bugs after being fine with meeting dinosaurs, pirates, and ghosts.