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Headscratchers / The Magic Treehouse

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  • Did the books ever address the language issue? After all, people didn't speak English at many places that Jack and Annie went to but they're able to communicate with everyone just fine. Is it part of the magic (like the way their clothes change)?
    • That's probably the case. Either that, or it's meant to be an Acceptable Break from Reality, of which there are a lot (I mean, language aside, two white American kids strolling around with no adult supervision is definitely going to raise eyebrows in a lot of places/time periods).
  • Why are Jack and Annie so surprised to be in the present but in a different place in Eve of the Emperor Penguin when lots of the early books focused on them visiting other places (Africa, the Amazon, Australia) rather than other times? In Dolphins at Daybreak it was almost explicit that they didn't travel through time given that Jack identified the dates in the minisub's log as beginning "last week" and going on for several days.
    • Eve of the Emperor Penguin was notable for being the first book in which Jack and Annie actually encounter other people in the 21st century. The earlier books that involved traveling through space, but not necessarily time did not include anyone who would question or worry why two kids are wandering around by themselves, so that was probably very jarring for them.
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  • Speaking of Eve of the Emperor Penguin, you would expect that, if two ordinary kids with no adult supervision showed up at an Antarctic research base, it would make headlines all over the world. Or do they only go into the books and not actually travel through time and space within their own world?
  • How does no one else ever notice the magic tree house? What if someone else had found it before Jack and Annie?
    • It might be hidden by magic— it probably is when it's traveling, as nobody ever seems to notice it on the trips, even when it lands in very unusual places like the inside of the moon base or one of the smokestacks of the Titanic. If it's hidden when it's in Frog Creek isn't clear— it could just be that it's in a part of the woods that isn't well-visited (and the books have a kind of Comic-Book Time— Jack and Annie's adventures have taken place over 20 years for us, but they've aged about three or four— three or four years without anyone visiting a random part of the woods is more believable than 20.) If it isn't magically hidden in Frog Creek and someone else happened to find it, several things might happen:
      • 1) Adults might not climb the ladder because they would worry it (and the boards of the tree house floor) couldn't support their weight— most tree houses are built for children, and children's weights.
      • 2) People might climb up to investigate but never discover the magic— "I wish we could go there" is a pretty specific phrase and Jack and Annie were very lucky to hit on it by accident on their first adventure. If they tried to take one of the books or some other object from the tree house, we don't know what would happen or if Morgan would have a way of knowing other than finding the object gone the next time she was in the tree house— if I remember correctly, she only realized Jack and Annie had been visiting because they moved the books they looked at and brought back the "M" objects she had left in other places.
      • 3) If someone else had found the tree house and discovered the magic first, we'd have an entirely new story depending on what kind of person they were and what they decided to do (go home and pretend the whole thing never happened, try to take photos to prove they'd really traveled through time, bring others to the tree house). We might hope, however, that Morgan would intervene in time to stop anyone who attempted to use the magic for malicious purposes like stealing valuable art from the past or technology from the future, though.
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    • It's also possible that nobody ever found the tree house by accident before Jack and Annie and that afterwards, Morgan chose to protect it by making it invisible to others to prevent anyone taking her books or misusing the magic.
    • If I recall, they could only see the tree house and work its magic due to a combination of Jack's love of books and Annie's imagination, but I might be remembering wrong.
      • I think you're right about that. I believe Morgan said it in the fourth book, that only they could see and work the magic because of his love of books and her imagination.


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