Knight at Dawn (Magic Tree House, Book 2) Book Poster Image

Knight at Dawn (Magic Tree House, Book 2)



Predictable -- choose other books in this series.

What parents need to know

Positive messages
Not applicable
Violence & scariness
Not applicable

Jack uses the expression "I'm going to kill her!" in reference to his sister. When faced with three scary guardsmen from medieval times, Annie calls them "Dummies!"

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that there's nothing of concern here. Time travel is fascinating to the young imagination, set here in a story with plain, repetitive language and short sentences, sprinkled with facts about castles and knights.

What's the story?

Eight-year-old Jack and his 7-year-old sister Annie recap their first adventure with the dinosaurs. Upon finding a blue leather bookmark in the pages of a castle book, they wing their way via traveling treehouse to the Middle Ages.

Here, they witness a feast in the Great Hall. When they are questioned, \"Who art thou?\" the two run for cover, finding themselves caught in a room full of armor. Three unsavory guards corner them in the dungeon, until Annie pretends her flashlight is a magic wand and stuns them.

A trapdoor provides easy escape into the moat filled with crocodiles, when along comes a knight on horseback, delivering them to safety. At home, Jack notices an M on the bookmark, and concludes that the same person who dropped the coin in the first adventure also owns the books and is responsible for the magic in the tree house.

Is it any good?


The Middle Ages fascinate kids, but this is one flying tree house adventure with a ho-hum plot that never really gets off the ground. Jack does his usual observing, and Annie her characteristic disappearing act, but witnessing the Middle Ages from doorways and through windows is not enough.

Still, kids will find a dash of humor to enjoy, such as eating peacocks, the silly names of the three guardsmen -- Squinty, Mustache, and Red (who ask them if they are "Spies? Foreigners? Egyptians? Romans? [or] Persians?") -- not to mention the moment when the two central characters discover the meaning of precipice and tumble into a moat.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the medieval background. How much of this is true, how much made up? If they read other books in the series, they could talk about what they like best, and what about the main characters stays true throughout.

Book details

Author:Mary Pope Osborne
Illustrator:Sal Murdocca
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Random House
Publication date:January 1, 1993
Number of pages:65

This review of Knight at Dawn (Magic Tree House, Book 2) was written by

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  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent of a 3 and 6 year old Written bybec45 January 28, 2010

Good idea, but the role models need better character!

I think it's great that this series is trying to get kids interested in non-fictional items (science, history) through adventure books, but the reading level is low for the age I feel would be appropriate. Annie says "dummie" and does not listen to her brother's advice. The brother says "I'm going to kill her." I also have a problem with the premise that the kids are sneaking around and keeping a secret from their parents. These are not good role models for kids. What can't we have some true heroes who stand up for integrity and are respectful in these kinds of kids books?
Teen, 15 years old Written bymkalv November 9, 2009

Meh time travel adventure.

This book isn't one of the best in the series, but its educational, I guess.
What other families should know
Educational value
Parent of a 5 year old Written byChefMom April 9, 2008

Not for my five year old.

I began reading this book to my five year old son who is interested in fantasy. I had to explain a lot to him in the beginning about the Middle Ages; which was a good thing. The good thing about this book (and series) is that it teaches children about different places and periods of time. The book has hints of violence through it. My son asked me to stop reading about half way through when the children get thrown into a dungeon. It was just too scary. Characters in the book were mean and the 7 year old sister was rude and behaved poorly. I wouldn't recommend it until a child is 8.


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