- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 2, 2008

I read Magic Tree House Book #39, “Dark Day in the Deep Sea,” by Mary Pope Osborne, a book from the “Merlin Mission” series. This book is about the third mission Jack and Annie go on to save Merlin. They have to find the four secrets of happiness to save him.

The story starts out with Jack and Annie finding a book left open in the tree house, telling them to go to the ocean to find the next secret. They make a wish and the tree house takes them to the ocean. They spend most of their time on a ship named the HM Challenger, a ship that sailed in the late 1800s. The HM Challenger was looking for new sea creatures that live in the ocean.

I didn’t have any one part that I liked the most, I liked the whole book. I enjoy reading “Magic Tree House” books because they are interesting and I learn new facts while reading them.

As luck would have it, Mary Pope Osborne was in Virginia in April. She was on a book tour for this book and its companion book. I had a chance to interview her before she signed books at a book store. I asked her why she picked Morgan and Merlin for her books and she said it is because she loves the legends of King Arthur. I also learned from Mrs. Osborne that Jack’s character is based on a friend of hers and Annie’s character is made up, but she feels that Annie is the girl Mrs. Osborne wished she could be. I then asked her what made her write the “Magic Tree House” series, and she said she loves to learn about other times and places and then likes to share it with children.

We also talked about where she likes to write her books. Mrs. Osborne likes to write in her house with her dogs nearby. We then talked about the companion book to “Dark Day in the Deep Sea,” which came out at the same time. I asked her which book I should read first, and she said to read the story book first and then read the companion book. She said that this way I could get my curiosity going and then read the guide to learn about the sea creatures mentioned in the story.

One other exciting bit of news from Mrs. Osborne was that the “Magic Tree House” book “Christmas in Camelot” will be made into a musical that will come out this fall. She is very excited about this new project. If you want to learn more about the musical, go to www.MTHmuscial.com.

RATING: 4 stars

BOOK: Magic Tree House Book #39, “Dark Day in the Deep Sea”

AUTHOR: Mary Pope Osborne

PUBLISHER: Random House Books for Young Readers, paperback, 128 pages

PRICE: $11.99

READING LEVEL: Ages 4-8

INFORMATION: randomhouse.com/kids or magictreehouse.com

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