Shauna Masura's Reviews > Monday with a Mad Genius

Monday with a Mad Genius by Mary Pope Osborne
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In the 38th episode of the Magic Tree House series, Jack and Annie travel to Florence, Italy during the Renaissance period to learn the secrets of happiness from Leonardo DaVinci. After the embarrassing, accidental destruction of one of his frescoes, Leonardo threatens to pack up and move away, and recounts his previous statement that fame brings him happiness. Jack and Annie summon the powers of their magic wand to show Leonardo that true happiness is actually found in curiosity. Implausibility aside, The Magic Tree House books are a helpful tool for introducing new readers to elements of history, geography, and culture. Realistically sketched illustrations offer picture clues for new readers, and dialogue introduces new vocabulary with clarity. Children will appreciate Monday with a Mad Genius for its sense of adventure, and because it depicts its young protagonist as smarter than and superior to adults. Jack and Annie are young children, singularly capable of performing important tasks that can change the course of history. They fly through time in a Magic Tree House when their parents think they are walking to school. They are even portrayed as smarter than Leonardo DaVinci throughout this story- shooting down his scientific postulations with their modern, 2nd/3rd grade knowledge. All in all, Monday With a Mad Genius is a simple, transitional chapter book that engages young readers while imparting historical information.
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