Double Review! Balto of the Blue Dawn & Dogsledding and Extreme Sports by Mary Pope Osborne

Have I got a treat for you! I’m reviewing Mary Pope Osborne’s latest Magic Tree House book, Balto of the Blue Dawn, and its nonfiction companion!

mt1Balto of the Blue Dawn
Series: Magic Tree House #54
Written by Mary Pope Osborne
Illustrated by Sal Murdocca

128 pages – ages 7+
Published by Random House Books for Young Readers  on January 5, 2016

Synopsis- (from Goodreads) The magic tree house has returned and it’s taking Jack and Annie back in time to Alaska, 1925. There they meet Balto, a jet-black Siberian husky destined to save victims of the diphtheria epidemic. But the trail isn’t easy, and Balto is going to need Jack and Annie’s help!

What I Thought- This was a fun book. It chronicles the inspirational story that spurred the Iditarod Dogsled race in Alaska. The story is nice and kids will love it. The pages are certainly packed with excitement for younger readers. Jack and Annie are sent back to 1925 to the Alaska Territory to help Gunnar Kaasen and his lead dog Balto bring Diphtheria medication to the people of the territory. The chapters go quick and along with being enjoyable, are an easy read. I love this younger version of historical fiction. Kids get to learn about historical events while being entertained. I can see kids wanting to learn more about the Iditarod and seeking out additional information. FORTUNATELY – this is Magic Tree House and they always think of these things (see my next review below 😉 ).  Sal Murdocca’s illustrations are a great fit for the story too.

I give this four out of five bookworms.fourbooks

mt2Dogsledding and Extreme Sports: A nonfiction companion to Magic Tree House #54: Balto of the Blue Dawn
Series: Magic Tree House Fact Tracker #34
Written by Mary Pope Osborne and Natalie Pope Boyce
Illustrated by Carlo Molinari
128 pages – ages 7+
Published by Random House Books for Young Readers on January 5, 2016

Synopsis-(from Goodreads)  When Jack and Annie came back from their adventure in Magic Tree House #54, they had lots of questions. How do sled dogs race for so long? When was the first Iditarod? What are some other extreme sports? Find out the answers to these questions and more as Jack and Annie track the facts about the Iditarod, open water swimming, the Ironman triathlon, free climbing, the X Games, and other ways people test their limits.

Filled with up-to-date information, photographs, illustrations, and fun tidbits from Jack and Annie, the Magic Tree House Fact Trackers are the perfect way for kids to find out more about the topics they discover in their favorite Magic Tree House adventures. And teachers can use the Fact Trackers alongside their Magic Tree House fiction companions to meet Common Core text pairing needs.

What I Thought- Hey! This is just what I asked for! I liked this nonfiction book a lot. It includes basic information about the complex sport of dogsledding, and the conditions and conditioning they go through. I like that it isn’t all about dogsledding though – the book includes other extreme sports, such as the X Games (dirt bikes, motocross, etc.), open water swimming (like swimming through the ocean over a long distance) and much more! The book also chronicles champions in such extreme sports, with portraits. The book includes explanatory illustrations throughout the sports.  This is a great companion to Balto of the Blue Dawn. I love that the Magic Tree House books connect fun stories with historical events but then follow up with additional information. This was always one of my favorite series growing up.


I give this five out of five bookworms!



The Magic Tree House Kids’ Adventure Club just launched last month! Here is the description of the new club from the Magic Tree House website -“The Magic Tree House Kids’ Adventure Club is the first-ever club where kid adventurers can come together. By joining the Kids’ Adventure Club, members will receive packages in the mail throughout the year, members-only goodies, and the opportunity to Skype with the person who knows Jack and Annie’s adventures best—Mary Pope Osborne!”

I like that the club has kids getting things in the mail and not all of it is online. It sounds very cool!

Categories: Age 6-9

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6 replies

  1. Thank you for featuring my doggie cousins, E. Yay, doggies!!

    Love and licks,

  2. There’s a wonderful statue of Balto in Central Park. I’m looking forward to reading these new Magic Tree House books. (The Adventure Club also seems like a fun addition for young readers.) Great reviews, Erik!

  3. It’s always a nice surprise to get exactly what you asked for. But then, sometimes . . . glad it worked it. I love the Magic Tree House books. Colossal heavy weight. Nice, double review, Erik.

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