Sunday, April 14, 2013

Ghost Town at Sundown

Title:  Ghost Town at Sundown (Magic Tree House Book #10)
Author: Mary Pope Osborne
Illustrator: Sal Murdocca
Publisher: Random House, New York
Genre: Modern Fantasy
Level: Intermediate
Number of Pages: 73
Pub. Date: 1997

Summary: Jack and Annie follow a Jackrabbit to their magical tree house to find Margret, their Master Librarian guide, who is sending them to the Wild West to help solve a riddle. After receiving their materials, including a research book about the West and their mission, they are whirled away in their magic tree house. Once the land, they realize that they are in a ghost town called Rattlesnake Flats. They explore the town with its spooky, deserted buildings in search of the answer to the riddle. They hear a group of cowboys coming so they hide in barrels. While hidden, they overhear that the group are horse thieves who have separated a mother mare and her colt because the colt couldn’t keep up. After the group leaves, they find the colt that was left behind and a man named Slim and offer to help him get his horses back so the colt can be reunited with his mother. They go on an adventure and help Slim rescue the mustangs. Towards the end, they offer him the advice that he should give up herding and selling mustangs and write a book, like he originally came to the west to do. They travel back to modern times in their tree house and when they return, realize that Slim had written the book that they were using for research along their way.

Critique: The magic tree house book series is a wonderful example of modern fantasy. They fall in the category of magic adventure stories because Jack and Annie find a magic tree house that transports them to the past and to a different place, in this case to the Wild West. There is good imagery in the book that allows the reader to feel like the tree house really does start spinning and carry them away to this land of the past. The setting takes place in modern times and has two kids as the main characters, which makes the story easy to make connections with for children and captures the readers, then takes them into the past via a magical element. It definitely creates belief in the unbelievable while maintaining a balance between imagination and what we perceive by having the two real settings, the modern subdivision and the past setting like the West, but then the connection being time travel in a childhood play place.

Response: I am like Annie in my story because she really has an automatic love for horses. As soon as she sees the colt that has been left behind, she tries to calm it and catch it’s rope so it can help it get back to its mother. I have a real connection with Annie because I’ve trained a wild mustang before, so I know you have to be very calm yet confident to get a horse to trust you, especially a mustang. Another way that I’m like her is that she is ready and eager for any adventure involving horses and I am just the same way! Annie and I really love horses and have a knack for taming wild ones!
My wild mustang!!

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