Book Review

Book Review: Dinosaurs Before Dark by Mary Pope Osborne

Dinosaurs Before Dark (Magic Tree House, #1)Dinosaurs Before Dark by Mary Pope Osborne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

publisher: Random House

middle grade fantasy

Obviously aware of the Magic Tree House series, I hadn’t actually read any of them until now. I am visiting several popular middle grade series that came after the time I would have read them as a youth.

Brother and sister, Jack and Annie, discover a mysterious tree house filled with books. After looking at a book about dinosaurs and casually making a wish, they are whisked away to the prehistoric past. They use the book they found to learn about all of the dinosaurs they encounter. After being spotted by a Tyrannosaurus rex, they figure out how they got there and are able to quickly get back to their own time.

I found the first in this series enjoyable. I didn’t feel any gender stereotypes were used here, the sister often showing more bravery than her older brother. I love that it puts an emphasis on books as a tool for learning, enjoyment, and adventure. It is an exciting way to introduce a subject (in this title it is dinosaurs, but in the next it is the Middle Ages) to new readers. I plan to read more into the series to see if this holds true. offers lots of bonus material such as games and resources for teachers and parents. There are often nonfiction titles to accompany the titles in the fictional series providing more information on each subject.

This hefty series is incredibly popular and has a big following. I look forward to getting more familiar with it so that I can recommend these to our eager, new readers.

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