HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Night of the New Magicians
Author: Mary Pope Osborne
Illustrator: Sal Murdocca
Publisher: Random House Children’s Books
Language level: 1 (nothing objectionable)
Reading level: Ages 8-12
Rating: 4 stars (GOOD)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Osborne, Mary Pope. Night of the New Magicians (published in 2006 by Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House Inc., New York City, NY). This is No. 35 of the “Magic Tree House” series, and is followed by Blizzard of the New Moon #36 and Dragon of the Red Dawn #37. The first 28 of these books were primarily historical in nature, where Jack and Annie are sent back in time to experience various events and meet famous people by using a magic tree house belonging to Camelot librarian Morgan Le Fay (most other Arthur-related books that I have read picture Morgan as an evil sorceress). My biggest complaint is that the author seems to accept “multiculturalism” with its assumption that all cultures, including pagan ones, are just as valid as Western Culture that is based on a Judaeo-Christian worldview.
Some people may not like the references to “magic” but if that part can be understood as purely fictional, the history is interesting. However, volumes 29-37, called the “Merlin Mission” books, tend to blend in a lot more mythology with the history and to me are not as good. In Night of the New Magicians, the children travel to the Paris World’s Fair of 1889 to see Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, Louis Pasteur, and Gustave Eiffel (this one has the least magic and mythology in it). In Blizzard of the Blue Moon, they go to New York City in 1938 to rescue a unicorn who has been trapped in a painting. And in Dragon of the Red Dawn, they go to 17th century Japan where they meet the famous poet Basho and help a cloud dragon put out a fire.