The Magic Tree House Series
Written by: Mary Pope Osbourne
Reading Level: Younger elementary grades
These are children’s chapter books. Two children, Jack and Annie, travel throughout time via a magic tree house. They are full of adventure and very educational.
Marie’s Review (Mom):
Sigh… The girls loved these books. They checked numerous out from the library. I never skimmed them because pretty much every kid I know, Christian or not, reads them. I assumed they were fine until one day I picked one up and flipped through it.
Before I explain further, take a look at these definitions I copied from my 1997 Merriam-Webster Dictionary :
Sorcery – the use of magic : WITCHCRAFT
Witchcraft – The power or practices of a witch: SORCERY
Magic – the use of means (as charms or spells) believed to have supernatural power over natural forces.
My problem with these books is that they use sorcery as “good.”
Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. ~ Isaiah 5:20
Grace read quite a few books from the series and told me Jack and Annie often used magic spells to help them when they got in trouble. In other words, magic spells are used as a fun and exciting tool to win against the bad guys. In our American culture, magic and magic powers are viewed as heroic play themes for children. But the Bible clearly tells us sorcery, or witchcraft, is OFF LIMITS. No exceptions.
But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death. ~ Revelations 21:8
For an even better explanation, please see this post by Women of Grace. It’s a long read but worth it.
My conclusion is that I cannot in good conscience let my children read these books – no matter how fun and how educational they are.
Grace is still upset with me for banning the books, despite our discussions. From a recent comment she made, I have come to wonder if she honestly believed the spells/witchcraft/magic were a part of the culture highlighted in each book. Since she has been reading these since 1st grade, it does make me wonder.
I do allow the girls to read the Fact Tracker offshoot series. These are non-fiction books by Mary Pope Osbourne and Natalie Pope Boyce. I have only skimmed one (Horse Heroes) and haven’t found anything I believe is displeasing to God.
Grace’s Review (4th grade): I loved them and learned so much! They were really cool and I wanted to read all of them.
Lainey’s Review (3rd grade): I loved them. Like crazy. I didn’t want to stop reading them.
Christian Friendly: No
Sensitive Readers: I didn’t read enough of these to say. In my experience they seem to be extremely popular among Kindergarten and up.