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Dinosaurs Before Dark

(Magic Tree House #1)

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  34,455 ratings  ·  2,753 reviews
Jack and Annie's very first fantasy adventure in the bestselling middle-grade series—the Magic Tree House!

Where did the tree house come from?

Before Jack and Annie can find out, the mysterious tree house whisks them to the prehistoric past. Now they have to figure out how to get home. Can they do it before dark . . . or will they become a dinosaur's dinner?
...more
Paperback, 68 pages
Published July 28th 1992 by Random House (first published 1992)
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Paxie Im only a kid, but past experience suggest that you should! But they might not understand the words...........hey? A little explanation won't hurt, ri…moreIm only a kid, but past experience suggest that you should! But they might not understand the words...........hey? A little explanation won't hurt, right???(less)
Hannah Reeves Yes, most of the books in the Magic Treehouse Series can be read as standalone, but there may be references to previous books.

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.92  · 
Rating details
 ·  34,455 ratings  ·  2,753 reviews


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Whitney Atkinson
Nov 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Reread for nostalgia's sake. it's so weird how when i was a kid they would take me an hour to read but now i can go through it in 20 minutes ...more
Lstirl
Nov 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Dinosaurs Before Dark (Magic Tree House Series #1) by Mary Pope Osborne,

A good transition into chapter books for the new reader.

While formulaic, predictable, and not particularly clever, this series serves the purpose of providing adventure at a fast moving pace for the new to chapter book set. The predictable nature of these books adds to their appeal as it makes them easier to comprehend and also helps them stay familiar. Kids of this age can be easily daunted by books and tend to be drawn to
...more
Sophia Triad
Aug 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children
The children found a high tree and they are curious enough to search for answers. Annie is the youngest one and she never thinks before she acts. Jack is the most serious one and he almost every time she saves his little sister.
Different personalities that when combined they experience the most awesome adventures.
Carol
Aug 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
As an adult, I'd have to say this is not five star reading material. However, it rates five stars because my second grader eats these books up, and is getting a glimpse of loads of different places and historical events. ...more
Emily
Apr 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This review goes for the entire series. Any books that can keep my almost-4-year-old so interested and excited that we can discuss them in the car, at breakfast, at lunch, before bed, guess what might happen next, say, "this is kind of like what happened in our book," and that we actually have to have a stack of the next few sitting here "just in case," is a 5 star in my book.

Each one takes Jack and Annie into the pages of a new book. We have learned about (and wanted to investigate further) mu
...more
Jess
Nov 01, 2008 rated it liked it
Beginning reader
For grades 1-3

Jack and his sister Annie discover a book-filled tree house, and, when Jack opens a book about dinosaurs, discover that it can magically transport them back in time to see real dinosaurs.

Organized into ten short chapters, with a full-page illustration per chapter, this is a highly appealing story for early readers. The text is clear and concise, with a fairly simple vocabulary but with characters and plot that will keep readers hooked. The black and white illustrati
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Mindy Mejia
May 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: the-kid-s-shelf
I was wondering when to begin chapter books with my six-year-old, which is really to say I was wondering how to start him on the path toward our shared trip to Hogwarts that I've fantasized about since he was chewing on Sandra Boynton board books. He took the matter in his own hands by asking to read 'Jack and Annie books.' A quick Google search helped me order our first set of Magic Tree House books (#1-4) and we sped through the first one in two days. My son was enthralled with the story and t ...more
Kaylin (The Re-Read Queen)
3.5 Stars The first chapter book Small-fry and I read together AND it’s one I loved when I was little so I have to round up.

He was completely enthralled as hung on every word of this adventure. Each night he didn’t want me to stop reading and just wanted to know what happened yet.

I was so so so bored by the repetitive sentence structure and lack of any pronouns. Also Jack is pretentious and needs to just stop trying to control Annie because she’s got this.

But I guess it’s not really for me, huh
...more
Nicole
Mar 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
The first book in the Magic Tree House series is an exciting beginning to the time-traveling adventures of 8½ year old Jack and his 7 year old sister Annie. Osborne builds this excitement deftly, first introducing the mysterious tree house full of books that then transporting them on Jack’s inadvertent wish to see a Pteranodon in one of the books to the Cretaceous period when dinosaurs roamed the Earth. The sibling’s encounters with various dinosaurs prove heart pounding, as some of them are not ...more
Mandy
May 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fun start to a fun series!
— nova
For the longest time I wasn't going to count this towards my official 2018 reading goal. Because it's a children's book and it felt like... ~cheating~. But then I thought, screw it. My sister and I read these all the time as children & I've collected quite a few of them over the years. I plan on passing them down to my niece and nephew, but I thought before I did that I might as well read them one last time.

I thought this was cute and nostalgic and perfect for new-to-chapter-book readers. I eve
...more
Bookishrealm
Update. Full Review: https://bookishrealmreviews.blogspot....

Lmao. No one judge me. I read this book in like 30 minutes. It’s a children’s chapter book and had some really interesting dynamics. I may read a few more but I won’t read the entire series. I can see why kids love them but I don’t know how much of these I would be able to handle has an adult haha. I’ll post my full review here when it goes live on my blog.
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Brad
This is a cute, inoffensive little adventure story that winds up offending me anyway simply by being present in the world. What sort of a grump am I, eh?

I was looking for something a little easier for my dyslexic girl. She'd been struggling with some bigger books, and she needed a burst of confidence to help her get back to where she wanted to be, so I found this book, saw how easy it was and brought it home for her.

Mission accomplished: she blew through it, had fun, and moved straight back to
...more
Camie
Aug 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
My 7 year old Grandson has not read much over the ( hectic) summer. Had to get this great little "reluctant reader" book to get us back in gear. Worked great , he's loving the story and it's perfect for starting second graders. Box set #1-4 4 stars ...more
Stacie
Jul 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-with-link
Great to read out loud to my four year old. He both loves and is scared of dinosaurs but said he liked it and immediately asked if we could read another book so that was encouraging. This is the first chapter book I’ve read to him and he was able to easily keep up with plot, characters, and where we left off as well as talk about what might happen next and asking questions. I’ll probably order him a couple more in the series and see if he likes the books or the dinosaur part better.
ABC
Apr 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: younger-kids
How could this book not get a good rating??? It is so popular and responsible for so many kids reading.

Having said that, I, as an adult, didn't find it interesting. I think my son found parts of it interesting, but he wasn't mesmerized.

A couple of things I didn't like: Mary Pope Osborne (the writer) often uses sentence fragments. Come on, I know it is easy reading, but I was always taught not to use fragments.
Another thing is that at the end, Annie and Jack (the main characters) agree not to t
...more
Sarah
Feb 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is the first book of a wonderful series. I read the series aloud to my kindergarten class every year. It is just right for their listening level. It is about a 2-3 grade reading level. No language or inappropriate behavior. Teaches history and geography.
Bri
Jan 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
"What happened to us?" he said.
"We took a trip in a magic tree house," said Annie simply.


Read for nostalgia's sake. Was not disappointed.
...more
Karissa
Mar 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
I read this book with my six year old son. He was very excited to get the first Magic Tree House book and I was very curious since I have heard a ton about this series. This is a great read for younger children and children just learning to read.

Jack and Annie find a magic tree house in the woods near their house. When they go up in the tree house they find it’s filled with books. When Jack takes down a book about Dinosaurs and starts to read it when him and Annie are magically transported to a
...more
Emerald Sue
May 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade
“It spun faster and faster then everything was still. Absolutely still.”
Zoey
Jan 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The book was super fun. My favorite part of the book was that they found a treehouse.
Cam
Aug 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Plan on finishing the magic tree house series.... cool book for beginner readers.
Nana Spark
A pleasant distraction from stupid college life.
Melissa
So two weeks ago I get a text message from
my son's new teacher. She let me know that my son had to read a book over the summer. As he has several learning disabilities he is in special education classes. So she wanted all her students to read a book on their level. This is hard as my son doesn't want to read "baby books" but has a rough time with chapter books. He has read a few of Dav Pilkey's books but I wanted him to branch out a bit. So I decided we should give the Magic Treehouse books a sh
...more
Denise
Sep 19, 2010 rated it liked it
Some of my students in Phoenix, as well as my little cousin, have been big fans of Magic Tree House. This was the first time I'd read any of the books, and it was a good book. I did not have the depth a book requires for me to give it anything more than three stars, but that's not Mary Pope Osborne's purpose in this book, so I don't mean that as a criticism. What I had heard about Magic Tree House (and what I now can agree with having read the first book) is that the beauty of the series is how ...more
Sandie
Feb 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
Okay, Elliott and I love these books!! I have always read to Elliott, and so we have an amazing assortment of childrens' books. But when Elliott was approaching Kindergarten I could tell he was ready for just a little bit more. We got a CD of this book read by the author Mary Pope Osborne in a 'mighty kid's meal' at Wendys!! one of the only times that I ever agreed to getting the 'toy suprise':O) This is the first book in a long series of amazing books of adventure, magic, and true and factual h ...more
Morgan
Nov 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: for-the-children
Believe it or not, this was my first time reading a Magic Tree House book and I don't know why I didn't read these growing up. I LOVED IT. I may or may not be a dinosaur nerd, Jurassic Park is one of my all time favorites. So this was right up my alley. I can see why kids eat these up, and why there are so many in the series. Safe to say, I am late to the party. But this will not be the last I read (or recommend!! Everyone read these!) ...more
Alexa
Jan 30, 2013 rated it liked it
I don't really know how to rate children's books like this one. I didn't particularly like it, but I can see the things that would make children like it. The story was imaginative and creative and when the t-rex showed up, it became scary and exciting. Mostly I felt that Annie seemed like a fun kid and Jack needed to get the stick out of his rear end. ...more
Lisa
Aug 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens
We took this series on a car trip with my 4 year old daughter. While the stories got a bit dull for us grown ups, my daughter loved every minute of it. When we got home, she grabbed the CD's and headed straight to her room to listen to more! ...more
Andrea
Jun 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2016
Mother Read: 8/1/16
Oldest Son Read July '16-Aug. '16

My oldest was no big on reading until he started reading this book. It has taken awhile for us to get through it because of birthday parties and vacations to Florida but we have made it through the book. Now on to book 2.
...more
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1,768 followers
Mary Pope Osborne has channeled a lifelong love of exploration and travel into one of the most popular children’s book series of the past two decades. With her fantastic Magic Tree House series, Mary Pope Osborne keeps the good times rolling for kids all over the world.

Other books in the series

Magic Tree House (1 - 10 of 57 books)
  • The Knight at Dawn (Magic Tree House, #2)
  • Mummies in the Morning (Magic Tree House, #3)
  • Pirates Past Noon (Magic Tree House, #4)
  • Night of the Ninjas (Magic Tree House, #5)
  • Afternoon on the Amazon (Magic Tree House, #6)
  • Sunset of the Sabertooth (Magic Tree House, #7)
  • Midnight on the Moon (Magic Tree House, #8)
  • Dolphins at Daybreak (Magic Tree House, #9)
  • Ghost Town at Sundown (Magic Tree House, #10)
  • Lions at Lunchtime (Magic Tree House, #11)

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