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Book Review

This book has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine. It is the 11th book in the "Magic Tree House" Series.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

As Jack and Annie walk home from the grocery store, they notice an animal that looks like a small deer. When they follow it, the deer leads them to the magic tree house. In the tree house, Morgan le Fay, an enchantress, gives them their third riddle to solve and a book entitled The Plains of Africa. Using the magic of the tree house, Annie wishes they could go to Africa, and the tree house transports the children there.

In Africa, Jack and Annie admire the thousands of animals just outside the tree house. Annie sees a group of wildebeests trying to cross the river. They look nervous, and she wants to help them. Jack stops her, saying they need to read Morgan's riddle. On this adventure, the children are looking for something gold, sweet and surrounded by danger.

With the riddle read, Annie is determined to help the wildebeests cross the river. While trying to help, she falls into a mud pit and begins to sink. Jack finds a branch, uses it to pull Annie to safety and then insists they clean up. Before they can, two hyenas approach them. Using the book Morgan gave them, the children discover that hyenas are cowards, and they scare the beasts away.

Jack and Annie head to a pond. They're about to clean up when an elephant emerges from the woods. Annie wants to watch the elephant, but Jack wants to sneak away. He is about to leave his sister when the elephant starts giving her a shower with its trunk. Jack lets the elephant clean him, too. When they are done, Jack wants to talk about the riddle, but a bird distracts Annie. She follows this bird called a "honey guide" into the forest and to a beehive. After learning from the book how to scatter the bees and knock down the beehive, the children realize that honey is the answer to their riddle.

As the children begin eating the honey, they notice they are not alone. A Masai warrior is watching them. Jack had read that these warriors have fierce fighting skills and are normally the ones who knock down the beehives for honey. The children try to talk to him, but the warrior doesn't respond. Jack remembers the bread and peanut butter still in his backpack from the trip to the store at the beginning of the book. The children make a peanut butter and honey sandwich for the warrior as a peace offering because they have taken the honey. The warrior eats the sandwich and leaves.

With the answer to their riddle, Jack and Annie head back to the tree house. They find a pride of lions resting at the base of the tree holding the tree house. Jack remembers reading that lions avoid giraffes, so Jack tells Annie to stand under a nearby giraffe. Annie says he is "nuts," but Jack grabs her hand and pulls her over to the giraffe, and they stand underneath it. They move with the giraffe as it moves closer to the tree house. When they are close, Jack and Annie dash for the tree house. They make it inside and travel back home.

Jack and Annie debate whether to tell their mother about the adventure in Africa. They know their mother won't believe them. They decide to give her vague answers to any questions she asks. The book ends with their mother asking them if they are ready for lunch.

Christian Beliefs

None

Other Belief Systems

The tree house is a magic place belonging to Morgan le Fay, an enchantress. Jack and Annie can see the tree house, but others can't. Morgan le Fay's magic allows the tree house to transport the children through time and space to the places they find in the books that are in the tree house. She is the tree house's owner.

Jack and Annie see the deer as a sign that Morgan has returned. They follow it, and the deer leads them to the tree house.

Authority Roles

As the older sibling, Jack is in a place of authority. Jack wants to solve Morgan's riddle and tries to keep Annie focused on their task. He follows her when she runs off so he can keep her out of trouble.

Jack and Annie's mother is discussed briefly in the final chapter but plays no major role in the story. Jack and Annie choose not to trust her with the details of their adventure.

Profanity/Violence

Mild name-calling happens when Jack calls Annie "crazy" and "nuts." Jack and Annie face hyenas and lions. One of the lions tries to attack them when they are returning to the tree house (not graphic).

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

None

Discussion Topics

Get free discussion questions for this book and others, at FocusOnTheFamily.com/discuss-books.

Additional Comments/Notes

You can request a review of a title you can't find at reviewrequests@family.org.

Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book's review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

Episode Reviews

Credits

Rating

Readability Age Range

5 to 8

Author

Mary Pope Osborn

Cast

Director

Distributor

Network

Performance

Record Label

Platform

Publisher

Random House

Released

On Video

Year Published

1998

Awards

Unknown

Reviewer

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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