Christmas in Camelot

Last updated Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Author: Mary Pope Osborne
Date of Publication: 2001
ISBN: 037581373X
Grade Level: 5th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Dec. 2006

Synopsis: A cup, a compass, a key: the magic tree house has brought siblings Annie and Jack to Camelot, where they embark on a mysterious mission to find these enigmatic gifts. In this special hardcover addition to the bestselling Magic Tree House series, the young adventurers must travel to the Otherworld, an "ancient, enchanted land beyond the edge of the Earth, the place where all magic began" to save Camelot from dark wizard Mordred's evil spell. If they fail, Camelot will be forgotten forever. Fans of the beloved, highly readable series by Mary Pope Osborne will rise to the challenge of this longer, more complex companion to her other titles, which include Earthquake in the Early Morning and Twister on Tuesday. As in every story in the sequence, Jack and Annie bravely plunge into their quest, learning about a culture and time very far removed from their own, and prove once again that children can make a difference.

Note to readers:
•  This is a chapter book, but the text is not dense and it should read quickly. Begin at chapter one and read as far as you can until 11:00.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Have you ever heard of Camelot or King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table? What do you know about them?
•  Looking at the cover of the book, is Camelot near where you live? Is it a real place?
•  Does Camelot look like somewhere you can visit now, in the future, or in the past?
•  Have you ever read a Magic Tree House book? What was it like? Have you ever seen a tree house or played in one?
•  Do you have any magical places you go where you use your imagination?
•  Have a discussion about Camelot. Where have you heard of this before? What do you think it’s like? How is it different from our world?
•  What is a wizard? What are some different wizards you know about? What do wizards do? Are there good and bad wizards?
•  What is a legend? How is it different from a story, or the truth? Where do you think legends come from?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  What is the difference between a story and a legend?
•  What other legends do you know?
•  What are ways you can keep legends alive?
•  What does it mean to be a knight? Who in our world is similar to a knight?
•  Why do you think the kids are given clues in rhyme form? How does this help them? Have you ever used a rhyme to help you remember information, like for a test?
•  What do you think some advantages of living like they do in Camelot would be? How would riding horses instead of cars help, or hurt? How would living in a castle instead of a city help, or hurt?

Craft ideas:
•  Make a paper sword. Fold one sheet of paper over, length-wise, 3 or 4 times to make the blade. Make a hilt out of another piece of paper.
•  Write your own story about being in Camelot. Would you be a knight, a prince, a princess, a wizard? What would you do? How would your life be different? Draw a picture to illustrate your story.
•  Create your own Christmas Legend with your own Memory and Imagination. Take a piece of construction paper and glue a piece of white copy or lined paper on it. Write or draw pictures of a happy holiday memory. Save the story and re-read it next year to your younger brother/sister and your family, adding detail that you remember. Re-read your story every holiday season and the legend will continue...

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!