A couple of years ago, I got turned on to the Magic Tree House Series – I had already seen a bit of the Time Warp Trio books. Both series are educational, featuring time travel to different eras and places.
The Magic Tree House series is an award-winning and bestselling series of children books written by American author, Mary Pope Osborne.
In the first series, consisting of the first 28 books, Morgan sends Jack and Annie on numerous adventures and missions in order to help free Morgan from a spell, solve four ancient riddles to become Master Librarians, and save four ancient stories from being lost forever. After the twenty-eighth chapter book, Mary Pope Osborne started a second series called the Magic Tree House “Merlin Missions”. In these missions, Jack and Annie have quests from the ancient wizard Merlin the Magician. These books are longer than the previous 28, and some take place in fantasy realms like Camelot.
All together, there are 44 fiction books named. Their titles are listed below. In addition, a number of Magic Tree House Research Guides (nonfiction companions to the series) have been written by the author, her husband Will and her sister Natalie Pope Boyce. These books contain more information about the historical places and events which Jack and Annie visit in the Magic Tree House Series.
Time Warp Trio books are written by Jon Scieszka. The series follows Joe, Sam and Fred, three ordinary 10-year-old city kids who get warped back in time thanks to a magic book Joe received from his flaky magician uncle. When the book opens, a pale green mist whisks them through time and space on extraordinary adventures — dueling with gladiators in Ancient Rome, marching to battle with the Samurai in Shogun Japan, or meeting Blackbeard the pirate on the open seas.
Things get really interesting when the boys bump into their own great-granddaughters — Jodie, Samantha and Freddi — three 10-year-old girls living in the year 2105. As with all great action-adventure stories, the two trios must use their skills and their smarts to outwit the bad guys, survive and figure out how to warp back home.
The Time Warp Trio was made into an animated TV series, and there are two DVD’s available of the episodes. The first is called Time Warp Trio, Vol. 1 Passport to Adventure and the second is called Time Warp Trio: Past, Present & Future. Not all of the episodes are included, but the series seems to be running on the Discovery Kids Channel at 2:30PM and 10:30PM. Discovery Kids has a fansite for the Time Warp Trio with games and episode summaries, too.
Random House also has a website for the Magic Tree House books. If you go there, you can download a “passport” that can be “stamped” each time a student finishes a book (if they get the 3 questions right). There are also activities and lesson plans included – as you will see below – but some of the links don’t work. If that happens, scroll down on the page you land on and you will find it. Magic Tree House also provides activity worksheets in PDF format, some that are better than others.
I also wanted to give props to whoever organized the Magic Tree House Wikipedia page. It is a really good resource, with plot summaries of all of the books as well as descriptions of the Research Guides.
Now, back to the Time Warp Trio. There is also a website devoted to the TV series made by the TWT team. There are games and fun things to do for the kids. If you go to the link that says Teachers/Parents, you will find resources for each TV episode. As you will see below, that means some of the books are left out. You will also find really nice lesson plans for each episode, organized by show and also by historical topic.
I am writing about all of this because I wanted to come up with a lesson plan/unit/project incorporating both Magic Tree House and Time Warp Trio books. I will talk about common themes in those books and the resources that are available through their websites in my next post.