Mary Pope Osborne writes Christmas in Camelot Magic Tree House Book #29. It is the first "Merlin Missions" book. Visions of fancy feasts, festive singing and celebrating with King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table dance in the children's heads. Therefore, Jack and Annie race off without qualms to the magical adventure.
When the tree house stops spinning, the Frog Creek kids find Camelot is not what they expected. There are no celebrations, music or laughter. A Dark Wizard has cast a spell over Camelot, taking away all the fun.
A history book usually helps explain why the Dark Wizard casted the spell, but not in this case. As Morgan le Fay explains, no history book can help, because Camelot is not real. It never existed, Camelot is a legend. There is no basis in reality.
Jack and Annie go visit King Arthur and Queen Guinevere, who greet them warmly. However, the Frog Creek kids soon learn the source of the trouble. Three of the knights are missing: Sir Lancelot, Sir Galahad and Sir Percival. They never returned from their mission to recapture Camelot’s joy from the Otherworld.
Suddenly, a Christmas Knight, dressed all in red with a horse decked in green, ride into the greatroom. He insists King Arthur send someone else to recapture the kingdom’s joy. Jack and Annie volunteer to go. The Frog Creek kids are given three rhymes to help: “Beyond the iron gate the Keepers of the Cauldron wait.” “Four gifts you will need – the first from me. Then a cup, a compass, and, finally, a key.” And “if you survive to complete your quest, the secret door lies to the west.” The Christmas Knight gives them his red cloak (the first from me).
As in their previous Magic Tree House Books adventures, Jack and Annie examine their rhyme clues and tackle their Merlin mission. The Frog Creek kids ride on a huge white stag to their destination.
Once they reach the Otherworld, Jack and Annie are elated. The Otherworld is the opposite of cold, bleak and brown Camelot. This place is warm, sunny, and green. The Frog Creek kids see a curious sight. A group of dancers who can’t seem to stop dancing around and around in circles. Jack is mysteriously compelled to join them. Lo and behold, there are the three missing knights. They are dancing under a spell and unable to break away.
The three knights leave the dance with the help of Jack and Annie. In expression of their gratitude, the knights give the Frog Creek kids gifts: a cup, a compass, a key. The children join the knights on their quest to seek the cauldron with the Water of Memory and Imagination. The precious Water, so badly needed back in Camelot and to restore happiness to the land. There is a battle with the dragon-like Keepers of the Cauldron before the joyful reunion with Morgan, Queen Guinevere, King Arthur and his knights. Again, lo and behold, both the Christmas Knight and the white stag were none other than the magician Merlin.
Christmas In Camelot Magic Tree House Book#29 ends with notes from Mary Pope Osborne telling the legend of King Arthur, Merlin the magician, the white stag and other elements in the story.
Children love Mary Pope Osborne's Magic Tree House books. They read the books for the adventures; they forget they are reading a book and learning a new subject. Also, Ms. Pope's Magic Tree House Books collection help children make the transition from picture to chapter books.
Camelot in Christmas, Magic Tree House Book #29 and other books in the series are available at Amazon.com.
Have you read all of Mary Pope Osborne's books in the Magic Tree House series. Read the list of books.
List of Magic Tree House Books
Magic Tree House Research Guides
Sign up for Children's Books Review newsletter. Do not miss any future articles.
Christmas, Hanukkah and other Holidays
Dr. Seuss Books
Don Freeman's Books
Stan Berenstain's Books
List of Magic Tree House Books
Chronicles of Narnia Books
A Series of Unfortunate Events Books
Note: Christmas in Camelot by Mary Pope Osborne review copy is from the public library. Random House publishes Mary Pope Osborne books/titles. Enjoy the early reader series.