A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this website.
Kids can learn about geography and history and get reading practice on this official site for the Magic Tree House books. Questions sometimes test reading comprehension, especially if kids already have checked out the corresponding book series. Book characters read some directions out loud, which can help younger, less experienced readers. Games and other activities touch on logical thinking and strategy. The site's reading-based passport can help kids learn to complete goals; to get a stamp, they must answer a few questions on each fact tracker they read. But it seems kids will really need to do most of their reading off-site to be able to answer many of the site's quiz-based activities. Magic Tree House helps kids read while bringing the popular books to life on your screen.
Encourages kids to have fun reading, develop a sense of curiosity about the world.
Products & Purchases
Kids can click over to Random House's site from Magic Tree House series excerpts to buy books; some books in the series contain codes that provide access to restricted parts of the site.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Magic Tree House is the official website of the book series of the same name. Reward codes, which can be used to unlock special content on the site, are paired with some for-purchase items, such as books, in-store displays, and ads. Kids must enter a parent's email address to register for the site, and parents receive a notification message. Kids also can register a friend's information as a reading buddy, but there's no chat or user interaction. The site also says it doesn't sell any personal information. Under the CCPA law you have the right to protect your personal information. Make a Do Not Sell request to Magic Tree House.
Is It Any Good?
This official site of the book series provides some interesting elements: fairly impressive graphics, narration, and a number of other helpful, engaging items. Magic Tree House's rewards and the passport stamps kids get for completing activities also can help encourage them to read and to focus on comprehending what they're reading. But reading the full Magic Tree House series -- or, at least, the many on-site excerpts -- before accessing all the site's activities seems like it would greatly improve the experience. Kids can often try twice to answer book-related quiz questions, which can help with learning, but many of their responses may be complete guesses.
Some parents may be uncomfortable with the not-always-subtle promotional push for the book series; the games seem to center on their content, and "buy" buttons accompany each book portion featured on the site. But the site offers some solid educational value, including puzzles that will help sharpen kids' critical-thinking skills and increase their exposure to historical and geographical topics -- which may, for some families, outweigh the pressure kids might feel to buy the entire series of books.
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