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Magic Tree House Just Turned 30—Here’s How to Read the Books in Order

The Magic Tree House series recently turned 30. Here's how to get your kids started reading this delightful, imaginative series in order—or how to re-read them yourself!

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Beloved books

Have you or your kids read the Magic Tree House books in order? The book series is routinely rated among the best children’s books, and incredibly, the Magic Tree House series turned 30 in 2022. Since the first of Mary Pope Osborne’s bestselling series of now-classic books for children debuted in 1992, they have delighted generations of young readers. Classic versions of the series have been passed on from parent to child, while recent illustrated versions have become some of the best graphic novels for kids.

The series follows young sibling adventurers Jack and Annie Smith, who are transported via their magic tree house to different parts of the world and different historic (and prehistoric) eras. They always have a mission, coinciding with some important event in history: Jack and Annie witness the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 CE, cross the Delaware with George Washington in 1776 and experience the great earthquake of 1906 in San Francisco.

Through vivid storytelling, use of fantasy and a sprinkling of magic, Osborne’s books have sparked the curiosity and imagination of countless young readers. And because they introduce such a huge variety of people and cultures, they’re widely regarded as some of the best children’s books about diversity.

The 37 (and counting!) books in the original Magic Tree House series are geared toward readers age 6 to 8. A related series of 27 books, Merlin Missions, skews to slightly older readers. And a companion nonfiction series, Magic Tree House Fact Trackers, helps provide context for the events and settings of the original series.

It’s a lot to take in! But if you’re ready to read—or reread—the Magic Tree House books in order, here’s where to start.

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1. The Mystery of the Magic Tree House: Dinosaurs Before Dark

First published: 1992

The first Magic Tree House book introduces readers to sibling heroes Jack and Annie as they discover the magic tree house. They’re transported 65 million years back to the late Cretaceous period. A friendly Pteranodon saves them from a hungry T-Rex, but they still have to figure out how to get home by dark, or risk becoming dinosaurs. Before escaping back to Pennsylvania, they discover an odd souvenir: a gold medal inscribed with a mysterious M. For kids who want to learn more about (pre)history, check out these best nonfiction books for kids.

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  • The Mystery of the Magic Tree House (#1) #1 Dinosaurs Before Dark (UK Title: Valley of the Dinosaurs)

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2. The Mystery of the Magic Tree House: The Knight at Dawn

First published: 1993

In this second installment, no sooner are Jack and Annie out of the T-Rex’s clutches and back safe in the tree house than they’re transported to medieval England, where they stumble upon a medieval castle and a heroic knight. But the siblings turn out to be unwelcome guests at a feast, as the clues pile up and the mystery of their time-traveling tree house deepens.

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3. The Mystery of the Magic Tree House: Mummies in the Morning

First published: 1993

In the third book, Ancient Egypt is the scene, and mummies are on the loose! Jack and Annie must help the ghost of an ancient Queen Hutepi find the Book of the Dead and still manage to find their way back to the tree house, lest they become mummies themselves. Kids will learn a lot here about the ancient world, hieroglyphics and how the pyramids—some of the most beautiful man-made structures in history—were built.

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4. The Mystery of the Magic Tree House: Pirates Past Noon

First published: 1994

Yo, ho, ho! In book #4, Annie and Jack are hurtled to the high seas, where they (naturally) encounter some dastardly pirates and set out on a hunt for buried treasure. Along the way, they meet a mysterious figure who’s played a role in all their adventures up to this point: Morgan le Fay of Arthurian legend, who is the mysterious M. Kids will like that our heroes use their wits and ingenuity to get out of this close call—almost as much as they’ll like these pirate jokes.

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5. The Mystery of the Magic Spell: Night of the Ninjas

First published: 1995

Anxious to stay on the trail of the mysterious Morgan le Fay, the enchantress they met in the last book, Annie and Jack travel to ancient Japan, where they stumble into the cave of a ninja master. In this book, they must collect magical objects to save Morgan, all while making sure they avoid a gang of evil samurai warriors. If ancient Japan sounds interesting, wait till you read about these weird things in Japan in modern times!

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6. The Mystery of the Magic Spell: Afternoon on the Amazon

First published: 1995

Still striving to help Morgan le Fay break a spell that’s been cast upon her, the siblings get lost in the Amazon rainforest. In book #6, they encounter jaguars, crocodiles, killer ants, vampire bats and a host of other feathered and furry animals in the Amazon rainforest as they search for a magical object. Fortunately, a friendly mouse named Peanut helps them navigate this dangerous terrain.

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7. The Mystery of the Magic Spell: Sunset of the Sabertooth

First published: 1996

Still on the trail of Morgan and looking for another object to lift the spell on her, in this book Jack and Annie time-leap back to the Ice Age—in wet swimsuits! In their race to stay warm, achieve their mission and get back to the tree house, the duo encounter Cro-Magnons, or early humans. They also learn about prehistoric cave art and have brushes with fearsome prehistoric animals, like woolly mammoths and a sabertooth tiger, before making their escape.

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8. The Mystery of the Magic Spell: Midnight on the Moon

First published: 1996

In book #8, Jack and Annie’s adventures go extraterrestrial as they journey to the moon to help Morgan. Clad in spacesuits but with a dwindling oxygen supply, the siblings search for another object, encounter a mysterious moon resident and other moon mysteries, and race to get back to earth while they can still draw breath.

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9. The Mystery of the Ancient Riddles: Dolphins at Daybreak

First published: 1997

One of the delights of reading the Magic Tree House books in order is the many detours Osborne takes with her “series within a series” books that revolve around a central mission. In book #9, the beginning of the Ancient Riddles set, ever-mysterious Morgan le Fay tempts Jack and Annie with a four-part riddle. The first takes them to the middle of the Pacific Ocean, where they meet up with a clever octopus, a hungry shark and some friendly dolphins—one of the smartest animals out there!

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10. The Mystery of the Ancient Riddles: Ghost Town at Sundown

First published: 1997

In a race to solve the second of Morgan’s riddles, the kids ride back to a Wild West town that might actually be haunted. A cowboy named Slim, horse rustlers, deadly rattlesnakes and a lost colt are some of the characters they encounter in this scary, but not-too-scary, 10th installment in the Magic Tree House series. For more haunting fun, check out these chilling ghost stories—but maybe don’t read them to the kids!

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11. The Mystery of the Ancient Riddles: Lions at Lunchtime

First published: 1998

As they continue to solve the ancient riddles, Jack and Annie are spun off to the African Savannah in book #11, where they must figure out Morgan’s latest rhyming riddle. Along the way, young readers are introduced to a Masai warrior and a host of African wildlife, including a herd of wildebeests and a pride of lions who are—you guessed it!—hungry.

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12. The Mystery of the Ancient Riddles: Polar Bears Past Bedtime

First published: 1998

The last installment in the Mystery of the Ancient Riddles series-within-a-series takes our young heroes to the Arctic, where they get stuck on an ice floe and have to gamble on whether a passing polar bear wants to help them—or eat them. They also meet a seal hunter and learn about Inuit culture. Don’t miss these adorable polar bear pictures!

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13. The Mystery of the Lost Stories: Vacation Under the Volcano

First published: 1998

These kids either have the best timing, or the worst—we’re not sure. This time, Morgan le Fay sends them to ancient Pompeii to retrieve a book from the library. But little do they know, they’re in Pompeii the very date of the volcanic eruption of Vesuvius in 79 CE. In book #13, can the siblings snag the ancient book and make it back to the tree house before they wind up in the ash heap of history?

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14. The Mystery of the Lost Stories: Day of the Dragon King

First published: 1998

Morgan’s latest challenge and the second book in The Mystery of the Lost Stories series-within-a-series takes Annie and Jack to ancient China to retrieve another book. Except this time, they’re battling a book-burning emperor, the Dragon King. We appreciate Osborne’s not-so-subtle social commentary here about the evils of book burning. It might inspire readers to fight real-world book banning, like this banned book club started by teens.

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15. The Mystery of the Lost Stories: Viking Ships at Sunrise

First published: 1998

The fun and adventure continue in book #15 in medieval Ireland, where Jack and Annie time-travel in search of another mysterious text. But they’ll have to escape the clutches—and axes!—of a horde of marauding Vikings. Fortunately, there’s a friendly monk to help them along as they get a lesson in illuminated manuscripts and monastic life.

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16. The Mystery of the Lost Stories: Hour of the Olympics

First published: 1998

In installment #16 of these time travel books, the kids hop back to Ancient Greece and get a tour from none other than Plato himself. We love the girl-power energy in this installment, as Annie confronts laws that dictate, among other things, that women can’t attend the Olympic Games. Do you think that will stop her? Look for an assist from winged horse Pegasus.

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17. The Mystery of the Enchanted Dog: Tonight on the Titanic

First published: 1999

These kids do have some big experiences, even if they don’t always have impeccable timing. This time it’s 1912, and they’re on the fatal voyage of the Titanic—on the very night it meets the iceberg! It’s a tree house rule that Jack and Annie can’t alter history or events when they time travel. Can they do anything to help avert tragedy as they help their new friend Teddy the dog break a spell?

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18. The Mystery of the Enchanted Dog: Buffalo Before Breakfast

First published: 1999

If you’re reading the Magic Tree House books in order, you’re halfway done! That is, for the main series, at least. In this book, Jack and Annie are on the Great Plains of 200 years prior, this time among the Lakota peoples. A buffalo hunt goes awry, but the clever kids use their resourcefulness to get out of another close call. Note that for many parents, this installment may gloss over an ugly chapter in U.S. history—the genocide of Native Americans. Some of these historical fiction books might give a more honest portrayal.

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19. The Mystery of the Enchanted Dog: Tigers at Twilight

First published: 1999

In one of the typical “circle of life” dilemmas that Jack and Annie face, the siblings swoop over to India, where they rescue a tiger from a steel trap. Then it’s their turn to be rescued—from the tiger. Throughout book #19, a Hindu hermit imparts some ancient wisdom, an elephant saves the day and Teddy the dog is still a dog.

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20. The Mystery of the Enchanted Dog: Dingoes at Dinnertime

First published: 2000

Jack and Annie discover the dog-eat-dog world of Australia in book #20, where they journey for the fourth and final object required to break Teddy’s curse. As dingoes threaten a kangaroo and her joey, a wildfire breaks out and a koala needs rescuing. When the kids finally make it safely home, Teddy’s curse is lifted and he’s revealed to be a young magician.

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21. The Mystery of Morgan’s Library: Civil War on Sunday

First published: 2000

In this book, the start of the Mystery of Morgan’s Library set, Morgan le Fay sends the siblings on another mission: to the American Civil War, in the midst of a battle! Annie and Jack meet nurse Clara Barton and help care for wounded soldiers in a field hospital, including a Union drummer boy who strongly resembles Jack. They later learn he was one of their real-life ancestors. Check out these feminist books for more amazing women heroes!

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22. The Mystery of Morgan’s Library: Revolutionary War on Wednesday

First published: 2000

So sometimes Annie and Jack do make it to the right place at the right time. In book #22, the scene is the Delaware River on Christmas, 1776. Bad weather has General George Washington uncertain as to whether he can carry out his daring nighttime crossing and attack on British troops. Can the siblings convince him to follow through, save their country and maybe go along for the adventure?

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23. The Mystery of Morgan’s Library: Twister on Tuesday

First published: 2001

Bullies exist in any year, as Jack and Annie learn as they travel back to a Midwest prairie of the 1870s and meet students from a one-room schoolhouse. In this book, the kids learn lessons about getting along with others and recognizing that bullies are just as often insecure kids fighting their own battles. Oh, and they encounter a huge tornado and undertake a daring rescue mission. This book is a good jumping-off place to discuss how to prepare for a tornado with your kids.

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24. The Mystery of Morgan’s Library: Earthquake in the Early Morning

First published: 2001

Back to some bad timing on Jack and Annie’s part: When they travel to San Francisco in search of some words assigned by Morgan, they arrive just as the great earthquake of 1906 is starting to rumble. In book #24, the kids are desperate to save themselves and an injured family and complete their mission before the entire city comes tumbling down. The backstory? The duo are on a mission to help Morgan save King Arthur’s Camelot.

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25. The Mystery of Morgan’s Rhymes: Stage Fright on a Summer Night

First published: 2002

Jack and Annie’s next brush with greatness occurs in Elizabethan England, where they befriend and help a frustrated playwright after some flaky actors bail on him. In book #25, Jack overcomes stage fright, the kids meet Queen Elizabeth and Annie saves a caged bear. It’s only when they return home with a scroll gifted to them by the playwright that they realize their new friend was none other than William Shakespeare. For more Shakespeare-inspired drama, try reading these dark academia books.

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26. The Mystery of Morgan’s Rhymes: Good Morning, Gorillas

First published: 2002

You can learn a lot from a gorilla. Jack discovers this first-hand after he and Annie journey to Africa and encounter a group of mountain gorillas. In this book, Annie fits right in with the creatures and Jack feels left out—until he learns their tricks of body language and nonverbal communication.

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27. The Mystery of Morgan’s Rhymes: Thanksgiving on Thursday

First published: 2002

In Plymouth Colony of 1621, Jack and Annie attend the first Thanksgiving dinner. While the siblings do manage to acquire another magic ingredient they need to solve Morgan’s latest rhyme, in this book they nearly make a disaster out of dinner and have to learn a thing or two along the way about Pilgrims and Native Americans.

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28. The Mystery of Morgan’s Rhymes: High Tide in Hawaii

First published: 2003

In book #28, when Morgan sends Jack and Annie to Hawaii in search of a “special kind of magic,” the kids get distracted with surfing lessons and hula dancing. But when they have to help save their new friends from an impending tsunami, they realize the magic they’ve been searching for is friendship itself, making this one of the best books about friendship in the whole series.

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29. Learning from Heroes: A Big Day for Baseball

First published: 2017

Note: There’s a 14-year gap between book #28 and book #29 of the Magic Tree House series. During this time, Osborne produced the Merlin Missions subseries (more on that below) before resuming her regular series.

Annie and Jack learn some harsh history lessons as they travel back to April 15, 1947, when Jackie Robinson played his first game with the Brooklyn Dodgers and broke the color barrier in major league baseball. As Robinson endures the crowd’s insults and focuses on helping his team win, the kids learn about rising above adversity. Readers who enjoy the Learning from Heroes set can find what to read next on our list of the best biographies.

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30. Learning from Heroes: Hurricane Heroes in Texas

First published: 2018

It’s 1900 in Galveston, Texas, where only Jack and Annie seem concerned about the big hurricane they know is coming. In book #30, as they desperately try to warn an unworried public, the storm rolls in and the kids are saved by a young family. Together, they float on the roof of a house to the Ursuline Monastery, where they help rescue other storm survivors.

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31. Learning from Heroes: Warriors in Winter

First published: 2019

When Jack and Annie jump into the way-back machine and are dumped into a 2nd-century CE Roman Legion camp, they try to blend in. But it’s not so easy to pretend to be a warrior—until they get some advice from a mysterious rider on a black horse, who turns out to be Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius. Book #31 is another history-packed installment, sure to be enjoyed by fans of history documentaries.

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32. Learning from Heroes: To the Future, Ben Franklin!

First published: 2019

There’s a major plot twist in this Magic Tree House installment. The kids go back to Colonial Philadelphia to help Ben Franklin, who is struggling with whether he should sign the Declaration of Independence. To help convince him, they have him travel forward in time, to their home in present-day Philadelphia. Adults who enjoy this book may enjoy Ben Franklin’s account of his own life, one of the best autobiographies by an American hero.

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33. Animal Rescues: Narwhal on a Sunny Night

First published: 2020

When Annie and Jack go back to Viking-era Greenland to save a stranded narwhal, they meet a young Leif Erikson, who has other ideas—he’d rather kill the narwhal for its distinctive horn. In this book, animal-whisperer Annie convinces Leif to spare the narwhal, and the siblings get a lesson in Viking culture and Arctic marine mammals.

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34. Animal Rescues: Late Lunch with Llamas

First published: 2020

In Late Lunch with Llamas, when the tree house takes them to the Peruvian Andes, Jack and Annie learn that a family’s baby llama has been stolen—so of course, they’re on the case. To rescue the llama, the duo have to climb to the ruins of Machu Picchu and back again, undertaking perhaps their most dangerous mission yet.

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35. Animal Rescues: Camp Time in California

First published: 2021

John Muir and Teddy Roosevelt make guest appearances in this installment, as Annie and Jack’s magic tree house lands on the tallest tree on earth—in what will become Yosemite National Park. There’s a poignant environmental message here, and young readers might be as upset as Annie is when she learns of the felling of a 1,400-year-old tree. Don’t miss these national park road trips you can take to see Yosemite (and other natural wonders) for yourself.

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36. Animal Rescues: Sunlight on the Snow Leopard

First published: 2022

In book #36, the Magic Tree House transports the siblings to the Himalayas of Nepal, where they’re to search for a ghost. But Jack wants to avoid the ghost, and both he and Annie want to learn about Himalayan wildlife. They’re soon lost in the high mountains, but a Sherpa guide comes to their aid. As they learn about local culture, they discover the elusive ghost isn’t so scary.

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37. Animal Rescues: Rhinos at Recess

First published: January 2023

If you’ve gotten this far and read all the Magic Tree House books in order, congratulations! You’re all caught up. The latest installment, due out in January 2023, takes Jack and Annie to South Africa, where they’re out to save a rhino from poachers.

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Merlin Missions subseries

From 2001 to 2016, Osborne concentrated on a subseries of the Magic Tree House books, geared to readers ages 7 to 10. She wrote 27 books in the Magic Tree House: Merlin Missions series. As the series title suggests, this time the kids are sent on adventures by Merlin, the wizard of Camelot.

If you want to read all these Magic Tree House books in order, here they are:

Christmas in Camelot (2001)

Haunted Castle on Hallows Eve (2003)

Summer of the Sea Serpent (2004)

Winter of the Ice Wizard (2004)

Carnival at Candlelight (2005)

Season of the Sandstorms (2005)

Night of the New Magicians (2006)

Blizzard of the Blue Moon (2006)

Dragon of the Red Dawn (2007)

Monday with a Mad Genius (2007)

Dark Day in the Deep Sea (2008)

Eve of the Emperor Penguin (2008)

Moonlight on the Magic Flute (2009)

A Good Night for Ghosts (2009)

Leprechaun in Late Winter (2010)

A Ghost Tale for Christmas Time (2010)

A Crazy Day with Cobras (2011)

Dogs in the Dead of Night (2011)

Abe Lincoln at Last! (2011)

A Perfect Time for Pandas (2012)

Stallion by Starlight (2013)

Hurry Up, Houdini! (2013)

High Time for Heroes (2014)

Soccer on Sunday (2014)

Shadow of the Shark (2015)

Balto of the Blue Dawn (2016)

Night of the Ninth Dragon (2016)

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Other Magic Tree House titles

Osborne and her team have written other additions to the Magic Tree House titles, including the Magic Tree House Super Edition (2015), titled Danger in the Darkest Hour, which features an extended story and additional facts and photographs. There’s also a series of Magic Tree House Fact Trackers (formerly called Magic Tree House Research Guides). Intended as companion pieces to the books, the Fact Trackers are nonfiction guides that help young readers with the historical context behind the events and characters depicted in the series.

Last, for the series’s 30th anniversary, Osborne has penned Memories and Life Lessons from the Magic Tree House (2022), which offers her life lessons, quotes, illustrations and reflections on the series and its remarkable influence on generations of young readers. Reading the Magic Tree House books in order generally refers to the main series, but for a real challenge, try reading them all!

Elizabeth Heath
Elizabeth Heath is a travel and lifestyle writer based in Italy. Her writing on travel and sustainability appears in national and international publications and she is the author of several guidebooks. For RD.com and sister publication FamilyHandyman.com, she writes about pets (especially dogs!), books, seasonal gift guides, home improvement, and outdoor living.