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“Jack remembered what it felt like to be a dog. The cold didn’t bother him at all; he didn’t feel sore or stiff. Nothing hindered his body. And most of all, he felt wild joy.” –Dogs in the Dead of Night
Dogs in the Dead of Night
Magic Tree House Merlin Mission #18
by Mary Pope Osborne
Beware of avalanches! To save one of their best friends, Jack and Annie must travel back in time to the Swiss Alps and find a rare flower. But how can they look for the flower under ice and snow? When they stumble upon a monastery where monks and Saint Bernards live, Annie offers to train a troublesome young dog named Barry. Then Barry runs away, and Jack and Annie have a new task—find Barry! Will Barry lead them to the mysterious flower, or into one of the most thrilling adventures of their lives?
Jack and Annie’s newest adventure takes them to a frozen land. Much of the suspense comes from Jack’s belief that they will never find the flower they are looking for. While Jack worries, Annie promises to train the Saint Bernard, Barry. Unbeknownst to them, Barry will help them accomplish their mission.
Barry’s playful behavior adds a little humor to the story, but mostly he gives readers a picture of the important role Saint Bernards had during the nineteenth century. Jack, Annie, and Barry end up saving Napoleon’s life; however, most readers will not understand the significance because the story doesn’t have historical information on Napoleon. Despite this, readers will enjoy the story’s adventure and love getting a peek at how it feels to be a dog. Readers who want more information on how dogs help humans should read The Magic Tree House Fact Tracker: Dog Heroes.
Black and white illustrations break up the text and show Jack and Annie’s adventures. Illustrations appear every 3 to 7 pages. In addition, the book ends with a recipe to make puppy chow. Dogs in the Dead of Night is part of a series; however, the book begins with a summary of the events in previous books. While this allows the reader to understand the plot, for maximum enjoyment the books should be read in order.
The Magic Tree House Series will entertain readers because each book is full of mystery and adventure as Jack and Annie jump through time. Dogs in the Dead of Night has short chapters, black and white illustrations, and an exciting plot that readers of all ages will enjoy. For more information about the dogs in the book, read Magic Tree House Fact Tracker Dog Heroes. Readers who want more time jumping adventures should also read the Time Jumpers Series by Wendy Mass.
- Jack and Annie are caught up in an avalanche. A chunk of snow “knocked Jack off his feet and sent him tumbling headfirst down the slope. Jack kept falling downhill until a wall of frozen snow stopped him.” Jack is stuck in the snow. “The soft snow around his body had turned hard and solid. Jack felt as if he were trapped in cold concrete, buried up to his neck.” A Saint Bernard saves him.
- Barry saves a man who was buried by an avalanche. Barry “had uncovered a face. . . with bloody scratches and blueish lips.” Barry begins licking the man while Jack and Annie, who were changed into Saint Bernards, begin to dig the man out of the snow.
Drugs and Alcohol
- Darn is used once.
- After Jack and Annie return to their human forms, Jack imagines Barry’s words, “How the heck did you change from dogs back into people?”
- The magic tree house transports the kids into the past. Jack “pointed at the picture of the Great Saint Bernard Pass in their Alps book. ‘I wish to go there!’ he said.” The tree spins and when it stops, Jack and Annie are in the Swiss Alps.
- Someone accidentally puts a spell on “Merlin’s beloved penguin, and turned her into a stone statue.”
- Jack and Annie are given a potion. The directions say, “One sip with a wish will turn you into anything you want for one hour. Use only once.”
- Jack and Annie use the potion to turn themselves into Saint Bernards. After taking the potion, “Jack was hurled face-first into the snow. The world went black, and Jack felt his body shaking uncontrollably.”