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Magic Tree House #48: A Perfect Time for Pandas

Last updated Monday, August 26, 2013

Author: Mary Pope Osborne
Illustrator: Sal Murdocca
Date of Publication: 2012
ISBN: 0375868267
Grade Level: 4th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Sep. 2013

Synopsis: Time-traveling brother-and-sister team Jack and Annie have to find a certain kind of food—the fourth thing needed to save Merlin’s beloved penguin, Penny. The magic tree house whisks them off to a village in the mountains of southeast China, close to a world-famous panda reserve. Will it be their easiest adventure yet? Not a chance! Jack and Annie don't know it, but they’ve arrived on the day of a historic earthquake!

How will Jack and Annie survive when the giant quake strikes? Will they be able to rescue the pandas? And how will they ever get back to the tree house so that they can fulfill their quest to save Penny as well?

Note to readers:
•  This is book #48 of the popular Magic Tree House series. Please read inside cover and prologue to familiarize yourself with the main storyline. However, the kids will probably already know the series, so you may not need to read the prologue to them.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  If you could travel to a different time and place, when and where would it be?
•  How would you like to travel to a different time & place (what type of transportation?)
•  Have you ever seen a panda bear? What is your favorite type of animal?

•  yak (p 16) - a wild, shaggy-haired ox, from which milk and butter can be made
•  extinction (p 30) - the end of a species
•  bamboo (p 30) - a grass plant with a hard, hollow stem
•  somersaults (p 49) - a backwards or forwards roll in which the feet turn over the head
•  cascaded (p 53) - to fall down a steep, rocky surface
•  ravine (p 67) - a narrow, steep valley
•  debris (p 63) - pieces of something broken or destroyed; rubble

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  If you could name a pair of pandas, what names would you choose?
•  What is the answer to the riddle on page 8? What is the healthy food that is tough as wood? Who could eat something that is tough as wood?

Craft ideas:
•  Make a drawing similar to the cover with pandas & a background of bamboo with lots of leaves. Draw the pandas or cut out circles from black & white paper. Glue the pandas onto your drawing of bamboo.
•  Make a panda with moveable arms & legs. Cut out circles from black & white paper. Attach arms & legs with brads.

Special activities:
•  Play a "guess the animal" game. Write several types of animals (such as the list of most endangered animals at the end of the book - tiger, elephant, penguin, turtle, gorilla, panda) on scraps of paper. Mix up the words, then have someone select one and act like that animal, so the others can guess what it is. One of the volunteers may want to go first, to get the game rolling.

*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!