A book with one of the four seasons in the title.

I’ve fallen a bit behind on reviewing books for the 2017 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge…but I’ve just had an evening coffee and am ready for a new post! Just imagine reading this post on good ol’ St. Patrick’s Day…

Leprechaun in Late Winter (Magic Tree House #43) by Mary Pope Osborne // published in 2010 by Scholastic // 128 pages

The Magic Tree House series is a reader’s advisory go-to for me, and I’m sure for many other library folks too! They are perfect for kids who are just starting to read chapter books or are ready to take that next step in their reading. I find them to be ideal for around the 2nd-grade level…although kids above or below that can certainly enjoy them too! What’s really impressive about this series is the sheer number of books in it! This too makes MTH a great go-to because parents/kids are bound to find a subject or time period they enjoy within Osborne’s books.

Despite my high regard for the libraryish merits of the Magic Tree House books, I had never read one before this! They were around when I was in elementary school…and even so I don’t believe I read one back then. Maybe I would be more open to the fantasy genre now if I had read these. Oh! That’s another thing…these are excellent books for introducing kids to fantasy because the fantastical elements are presented in a somewhat “believable” way. Also notable is Osborne’s publishing of several non-fiction “Fact Tracker”/”Research Guide” books that accompany many of the fictional ones…

Being largely a non-fiction lover, I think these accompanying books are too cool. Reading the Leprechauns and Irish Folklore one, I was able to learn a lot in just a few pages. If anything, it was a good way to gain some insight into the classic Irish symbols and the truth behind them (for example…I didn’t know that Leprechauns were considered a type of fairy!). It also made me realize how twisted things like traditional folklore can get for the sake of holidays!

The Leprechaun in Late Winter book itself was a nice, if short, story (but I guess that’s the idea!). I read it some time ago, but I do remember getting a dreary feeling when protagonists Jack and Annie had just arrived in cool, rainy Ireland. Jack talked about how their feet/socks/shoes/clothes were wet pretty much the whole time and that it was cold out. There’s nothing worse than being cold and wet with no relief! Their mission, to inspire a young girl named Augusta, was a little odd to me. I’m glad the book explained what the idea of “inspiring” someone meant and made it clear when their mission had been accomplished. The magical elements were definitely appropriate and necessary in telling this tale and helped lighten the dreariness. The sufficient peppering of illustrations throughout helped keep me engaged in the story too…

I’m not sure if I will read more MTH books (at least not for this particular reading challenge…gotta spread the love, right?), but I will definitely not stop recommending them!

Stay lucky! – Bailey

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