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Book Review

This book has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine. It is the 22nd 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


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Annie and Jack return to the magic tree house. The kingdom of Camelot is in danger, and the children need to find four kinds of writing to help save it. After their experiences in the Civil War, Jack is a little nervous when he sees that their next adventure will take them to the Revolutionary War.

The tree house takes them near an icy river at twilight, and the children find themselves magically dressed in Colonial winter clothes. As Jack reads about the Revolutionary War in the book Morgan le Fey provided, the two children see soldiers huddled around a fire nearby.

Jack and Annie plan to stay hidden until they know which side these soldiers are fighting for, but the captain sees them. Thankfully, the soldiers are patriots. When the soldiers leave to join their commander-in-chief, Jack and Annie follow at a distance.

Jack finds a picture of the gathering of these soldiers in his book. He finds that he and Annie have arrived on Dec. 25, 1776, as the patriots are preparing to cross the Delaware River. When the commander-in-chief gives a rallying speech in the words of patriot Thomas Paine, Jack realizes the speaker is George Washington.

While Jack reads about Washington in his book, Annie runs ahead to talk to the man in person. After a soldier catches Jack making notes in his notebook and grows suspicious, Jack tries to lose the suspicious soldier in the crowd and runs into the captain he met earlier.

The captain tells Jack to find his sister and return home. He also asks Jack to deliver a letter to his children in case of his death, since Jack and Annie are from the same part of Pennsylvania as the captain's family. The letter includes a copy of Thomas Paine's words: "The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph."

Jack searches for Annie and eventually finds her in Washington's boat. Annie is convinced that she and Jack can help, but with letter in hand, Jack says the mission is over and that they should leave. While he tries to convince her to come along, the boat pushes off, and they're off across the Delaware with the soldiers.

As the soldiers row, the children read about the secret mission in the book. The winter storm worsens, and Washington and the other generals wonder if they should give up the mission. Though Jack tries to keep her quiet, Annie tries to explain how the plan will work. Washington is surprised and angry to not only find children among his troops, but children who somehow know their secret mission.

The suspicious soldier from earlier claims they are spies. Jack knows that to truthfully explain how they have their information would be impossible, so he reads the letter from the captain aloud, repeating the rallying speech. He encourages the soldiers not to give up when they've come so far.

Washington thanks Jack for reminding him of his own advice, but still insists the children leave. Jack and Annie return to the other shore on the next boat and find the tree house.

Back home, Jack is glad to have been able to help. They leave the captain's note in the tree house as the second piece of writing they needed to collect. Morgan has left another note, asking them to return on Tuesday. Walking home, Jack and Annie reflect on Thomas Paine's words.

Christian Beliefs

The bulk of the story takes place on Christmas Day. Annie wishes George Washington a merry Christmas, and he eventually returns the sentiment.

Other Belief Systems

Magic is a theme throughout the book. Jack and Annie are able to travel through time and space within a tree house. Morgan le Fey, an enchantress, owns the tree house and the library inside it. It is her magic that allows the children to travel and go on adventures.

Authority Roles

George Washington is the commander-in-chief of the soldiers. He and several other soldiers repeatedly tell the children to return home where they will be safe. The captain asks Jack to deliver a letter for him. Jack continually reminds Annie to be cautious.





Discussion Topics

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Additional Comments/Notes

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Episode Reviews



Readability Age Range

5 to 8


Mary Pope Osborne






Record Label



Random House


On Video

Year Published





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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