HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: A Perfect Time for Pandas: Magic Tree House #48
Author: Mary Pope Osborne
Illustrator: Sal Murdocca
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers, republished in 2014
ISBN-13: 978-0375868269 (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0375868267 (Hardcover)
ISBN-13: 978-0375867989 (Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0375867988 (Paperback)
Related websites: http://www.MagicTreeHouse.com (series), http://www.randomhouse.com/kids (publisher)
Language level: 2
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Reading level: Ages 7 – 10
Rating: **** 4 stars (GOOD)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Osborne, Mary Pope. A Perfect Time for Pandas: Magic Tree House #48 (publisher in 2012 by Random House Books for Young Readers, a division of Random House Inc., New York City, NY). Time-traveling brother-and-sister team Jack and Annie of Frog Creek, PA, are ready for their next adventure. They have to find a certain kind of food—the fourth and final thing needed to save Merlin’s beloved penguin, Penny, who was accidentally turned to stone by their apprentice magician friend Teddy. It is “A healthy food, grainy and good, baked with love, tough as wood, round in shape, the color of sand, given to those who have lost their land.” Sounds easy enough.
The magic tree house whisks the two off to the village of Wolong in the mountains of southeast China, close to a world-famous panda reserve. At first, they visit all kinds of restaurants to find the food, but nothing fits the description. Then Annie really wants to see the panda reserve. However, they don’t know it, but they just happen to have arrived on the day of the historic Great Sichuan Earthquake on May 12, 2008. How will Jack and Annie survive when the giant quake strikes? Will they be able to rescue the pandas? Can they find the food? How will they ever get back to the tree house so that they can fulfill their quest to save Penny? And can you guess what the food is?
Most middle school age children will enjoy this fast-paced adventure filled with danger and mystery. Of course, those who object to magic in children’s literature will want to avoid the book as well as the whole series. There are a couple of common euphemisms (gosh, darn), an obligatory mention of “panda poop,” and a couple of references to the pandas’ existence for three million years, but nothing really offensive. For those who can work around these things, A Perfect Time for Pandas would make a great complement to a study of China, earthquakes, and/or, of course, pandas.