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Book Review

This book has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine. It is the 47th book in the "Magic Tree House" series.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Jack and Annie have a magic tree house that will take them anywhere in history. In several "Magic Tree House" books prior to this one, they've helped Teddy and Kathleen, young enchanters from the past. Teddy accidentally cast a spell that turned Merlin the magician's penguin to stone. Jack and Annie must collect four items for Teddy so he can break the spell. When this story opens, they've collected two of the needed items and are preparing to search for number three. They sneak out of their house before school and make their way to the tree house in the woods nearby.

Teddy and Kathleen have left them a bottle of magic potion and a book about Abraham Lincoln. An accompanying riddle says they must get a feather from Lincoln and give him the hope he needs to heal his land. Using the magic potion, they make a wish to be at the White House depicted on the cover of the Lincoln book. They and the tree house land on the lawn of the White House in 1861. They even find themselves dressed in period clothing. An obnoxious little boy, Tad, and his older brother, Willie, come to investigate the tree house. The boys tell Jack and Annie they can get them in to see President Lincoln. Jack and Annie later learn Tad and Willie are the president's sons.

Despite Tad and Willie's best efforts, they can't get Jack and Annie past the security and other people waiting for meetings with Lincoln. Jack and Annie use the remainder of their magic potion to wish for a meeting alone with Lincoln. They find themselves in a forest and run into a boy who calls himself Sam. Sam says he can help them find Lincoln. Then Sam's horse kicks him in the head and leaves him reeling. Jack and Annie get him to his log home and into his bed in the loft. They learn his mother is dead, his father is out of town, and his sister won't be home until late in the evening. They try to help him by doing his chores, such as chopping wood, milking the cow, fetching water and making cornbread. They fail at each task. Sam is eventually able to recover enough to finish the chores himself. When Sam learns how much Annie and Jack enjoy writing, he gives them a feather pen and ink he made. Just then, his father returns from out of town with a new wife and several new siblings for Sam. Before the children can get Sam to tell them about Lincoln, they're whisked back to 1861.

On the White House lawn, they see Lincoln walking alone. The president looks puzzled and confused when he sees the kids. He says he remembers them from a day in his childhood when they helped him and then vanished right before his eyes. He had played a joke on them, saying his name was Sam. In keeping with Teddy and Kathleen's riddle, the kids offer Lincoln hope. They assure him the Civil War will end well and bring freedom for everyone. They return home in the magic tree house with Lincoln's feather pen, feeling thankful for the comforts of modern life.

Christian Beliefs

Young Abe Lincoln mentions that his school textbook includes quotes from the Bible. When Lincoln sees Jack and Annie years later, he asks if they are angels.

Other Belief Systems

The prologue indicates the children have completed many missions for Morgan le Fay (or Morgana, the powerful sorceress of Arthurian legends) and Merlin, the magician of Camelot. Jack and Annie get help from two young enchanters, students of Morgan and Merlin, named Teddy and Kathleen. Teddy accidentally put a spell on Merlin's prized penguin, Penny, turning it to stone. To keep Teddy from being banished from the kingdom, Jack and Annie are helping Teddy and Kathleen complete an ancient spell that should undo the damage. Teddy and Kathleen leave magic potion for the kids in their tree house. Their message urges the kids to take a sip, and then wish for one thing to help them with the mission. They just need to trust the magic. The kids repeat the mantra trust the magic to one another throughout the story. When Abe Lincoln asks the kids if they're angels, Annie says to think of them as a dream with a little magic thrown in. Annie and Jack grapple with why sad things happen. Jack says we may never know in this life, but maybe in a world beyond this world. Or maybe we just have to accept that it's a mystery.

Authority Roles

Abe Lincoln appears to be a loving, playful father. He takes time to talk with Jack and Annie, despite his many presidential duties.


There is one use of darn.



Discussion Topics

Get free discussion questions for this book and others, at FocusOnTheFamily.com/discuss-books.

Additional Comments/Notes

You can request a review of a title you can't find at reviewrequests@family.org.

Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book's review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

Episode Reviews



Readability Age Range

7 to 12


Mary Pope Osborne






Record Label



Random House Children's Books, a division of Random House Inc.


On Video

Year Published





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