If your kids are between 5 and 10 (or used to be), they've probably logged some time reading Mary Pope Osbourne's "Magic Tree House" chapter books, the wildly popular adventure series. In case you're unfamiliar, all you need to know is that Jack and Annie, a brother and sister with a lot of free time, find a magic tree house full of reference books that lets them time travel to cool eras like Ancient Greece and the Wild West. Sure, why not.
I'm currently reading these books to my kindergartener, and while I love how they strike that perfect balance between educational and entertaining, I nonetheless have some nagging questions for the author:
1. Shouldn't CPS have investigated Jack and Annie's parents by now? They've snuck out of the house like 55 times without anyone noticing. I get nervous when I read "The Cat in the Hat" and those kids are home alone for just a few hours. This is, like, a million times worse.
2. Are you purposely trying to send my husband into fits of middle school giggles every time you writes that Jack "Grabs his sac" or "Clutches his pack?" Or do you just not hear it?
3. Could Jack and Annie time travel to the future to pick up some new slang? Because "That's nuts" and "Oh, brother" are wearing pretty thin at this point. Particularly since Jack keeps saying "Oh, brother" in reference to his sister. It's confusing.
Jack and Annie can land their tree house on the Titanic while it's sinking but they can't go back like an hour earlier to warn somebody about the iceberg?
4. Are you secretly pushing a co-sleeping agenda? Because after the one where Jack and Annie get lost inside a mummy's tomb and UNWRAP THE DEAD BODY I couldn't get my 5-year-old out of my bed. For days. And frankly, I was glad to have someone small to clutch after I had those mummy nightmares.
5. Speaking of terror, Jack and Annie can land their tree house on the Titanic while it's sinking but they can't go back like an hour earlier to warn somebody about the iceberg?
6. Are you kidding me with the kids traveling to the Ice Age wearing only their pajamas? Now how am I supposed to get my California children to ever put on a jacket? These kids get away with murder.
7. When is Jack going to stop being such a pussy? As a mother of daughters, I appreciate that Annie is the brave, spunky one, but Jack's whole nervous and cautious act is getting old. I mean, he's already faced off with a sabertooth tiger, a ninja warrior and an erupting volcano—you would think by now he'd be gaining some confidence. But every damn time, he's all, "Annie, no, we shouldn't go into that cave with the fire and the growling coming out of it..." Come to think of it, Annie might be the one with the problem.
8. What happens when Jack and Annie encounter some sort of real life danger in the present day and there are no talking animals or magic spells to save them at the 11th hour? Like, if they got mugged or their toast caught on fire? Because frankly, I'm a little worried about their street smarts.
9. Do Jack and Annie have any friends besides each other? And if so, what the hell do they talk about at recess? Is Annie like, "I'm sorry I missed your birthday party, but I'm a Master Librarian now and I had to go save an ancient scroll before it was buried by volcanic ash." And then, does she not get invited to birthday parties anymore?
10. Why did you stop after 55 books? Is it because Jack and Annie became teenagers and decided they'd rather text their friends than time travel? I'm hoping you might have a few more stories in you. Because my daughter will really be sad when it's over.