Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"


Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.

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

Book Review

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

Jack wakes up early one morning, thinking about the previous day when he and his younger sister, Annie, took a magical trip to the Cretaceous period, 65 million years ago, and met real dinosaurs. Reviewing his notebook, he realizes that they really did travel through time. Annie reminds him to include a note about the mysterious medallion they found, marked with the letter M. She suggests that they take another trip from the tree house, and she brings along a flashlight.

In the tree house, Annie finds a book about castles and turns to a page picturing a knight on a horse. Before Jack can warn her, she puts a finger on the picture and wishes that they could meet a knight in shining armor. The tree house starts to spin and lands in front of a castle. Jack wants to go home, but Annie climbs down the ladder to explore. Jack finds information about knights in the book from the tree house and begins taking notes.

Before Jack can stop her, Annie goes to the castle to explore in it. He follows her, and they hear music inside. Jack takes notes about the things he reads and observes, including the fact that feasts sometimes include peacocks for dinner, crocodiles sometimes swim in a castle's moat and a knight's helmet can weigh up to 40 pounds.

Afraid of being caught, they hide inside a room filled with armor and weapons. Jack accidentally makes a noise while trying on a helmet. Three guards arrest him and Annie. The guards threaten to hang the children the next day. Annie retrieves her flashlight from her backpack and shines a light in their faces, telling them it is a magic wand. The guards are so surprised that they let the children go. Using a map of the castle (from the book) as their guide, they make their way to the castle's wall as their flashlight dims.

They climb over the castle wall and swim across the moat where they encounter a mysterious knight on a horse. He lifts the children into the saddle and takes them back to the tree house. Annie finds their book about Pennsylvania. When she points to the picture of Frog Creek, the tree house begins to spin, taking them home.

Back in his bedroom, Jack finds a leather bookmark in his backpack marked with the letter M. He compares it to the gold medallion he found in the Cretaceous period and notes that the lettering is the same. He falls asleep wondering about the mysterious person behind the souvenirs and the magic tree house.

Christian Beliefs


Other Belief Systems

The children refer to the tree house as a magic place and believe that a magic person has filled it with the books that allow them to travel through time. Annie refers to her flashlight as a magic wand.

Authority Roles

As the older sibling, Jack is the authority figure in the relationship. He is cautious and protective of his sister, who tends to make impulsive decisions. They keep the magic tree house and their adventures a secret from their parents and their teacher.

Jack and Annie seem to instinctively know that the knight wants to help them. He picks up the children and helps them onto his horse, then takes them to the tree house without a word.

The guards fulfill their duties in the castle. They detain Jack and Annie, despite their kicking and shouting. The guards question the children about why they have entered the castle. When the children refuse to explain their presence, the guards arrest them and take them to a dungeon. Annie is angry for being punished since they have not done anything wrong.


Jack reads that crocodiles live in castle moats and is afraid one will eat him if he falls into a moat. When the guards capture the children, they say that there will be a hanging the next day, if the rats don’t eat them first.

When Jack sees his sister dash off to the castle, he angrily mutters under his breath that he'd like to kill her. It is clear from the context that he doesn't mean this, but that he is simply irritated that Annie has run away without telling him where she is going.



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



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.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!