Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Magic Tree House

When I was a kid, I loved to read. I remember as an elementary aged kid going to the Marion Public Library, downstairs in the basement, to the children's section to pick out 10 books. My favorite series (what is the plural for series, anyways) were the Beverly Cleary books (Beezus and Ramona and Henry Huggins and Ribsy) and the Carolyn Haywood books (Betsy and Star, these were a little older where the moms never worked and the dads brought home the bacon and the kids were well mannered all of the time) and the Mrs. Piggle Wiggle Books and Encyclopedia Brown and Choose Your Own Adventure and The Bobbsey Twins and I could go on and on and on. I would plop down on our old brown couch that sat in the living room and not get back up until I had read a book cover to cover. So now that Elizabeth is to the age where she is getting into chapter books, I want her to share the same love of reading. She has taken to the Junie B. Jones books like I did the above series (there we go again, what is that plural?) but I want her to enjoy the books I did, too. She has gotten into the Ramona books, but another series that she has enjoyed is the Magic Tree House series. This is a newer series, one I am completely unfamiliar with, but my mom got her a couple of books for Christmas last year, so she has started her collection. Together right after Christmas we read Midnight on the Moon. It was pretty good I guess. Then this summer Elizabeth read one about Polar Bears. It seemed to hold her attention. Then during our last camping trip, she started on one called Space. One night she got about two chapters into the book before she fell asleep with the book on her chest. When I went into the camper for the night and turned off her light, I started leafing through the book to see what it was about. I was quite excited about all of the scientific knowledge she would be gaining - even while she wasn't in school. Imagine my surprise when I began reading the following and I am directly quoting the book here: (now, it has been over 10 years since college where everything has to be documented APA style, so know that all of these direct quotes come from the Magic Tree House book Space, written by Will and Mary Pope Osborne)

Wait, first I have to tell you on the front of the book it states that this book is "a non-fiction companion to Midnight on the Moon."

Okay, back to the book. Chapter 2's title is "The Universe." The first heading is "The Birth of the Universe." Under this heading is the following: "Today, most astronomers think the universe began with a huge explosion. They call the explosion the Big Bang. They think that it happened about 15 billion years ago. Two things happened at the moment of the Big Bang. First, the stuff that would become everything in the universe came into being. Second, the universe began expanding" more jibberish follows, then "At the moment of the explosion, the whole universe was smaller than the head of a pin. Within a second, it was billions of times bigger than Earth. For billions of years after the Big Bang, everything in the universe was just very, very hot gas." After more explanation, the end of this section is summarized as follows:

Birth of the Universe
Big Bang
Universe gets bigger and bigger
Gas balls form
Gas balls become stars

Well, I'm glad that is all cleared up for my 7 year old now. Just a little different explanation of the birth of the universe than what she has learned from the first few chapters of Genesis.

The next morning Elizabeth and I had a little conversation about her book. Thankfully, the biblical teaching has made its mark on her, because when I asked her about what she had read, she said, "Isn't that silly? I mean, how could an explosion like that position the sun just the right distance from Earth so it isn't too hot or too cold. And God created everything on the Earth."

My problem with the Magic Tree House book isn't that it explained the Big Bang theory. And the rest of the book seems pretty accurate based on what we know through science. My problem with this book was that it quickly moved from "this is what most astronomers think" to assuming that it was right, and then basing the rest of the chapter on it. I want my children to know about what other people think and that others have a different opinion on the origin of the universe. I just didn't expect a children's book to be so one sided about it.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The plural of series is "series." The spelling does not change. Sorry, the English teacher had to respond. :)
Magic Tree House is a great series--I think it encourages learning and promotes good family discussions.

September 05, 2007 3:15 PM  
Blogger Keetha said...

The science teacher looked it up too - - - and the English teacher was exactly right!!! :-)

September 06, 2007 4:38 AM  
Blogger Keetha said...

Now THIS from the science teacher (after finishing reading your entire post)

That is EXACTLY how "many scientists" look at the THEORY of evolution. They totally ignore their OWN other theories (like Biogenesis for example, and the Cell Theory, and entropy) in their choice to EMBRACE and then try to PROVE evolution.

Centuries ago people believed in "Spontaneous Generation" - - - a theory which thought mice could originate from rice and rags in the corner, or that frogs came from mud - - - science disproved that about 200 years ago, and YET when we seek for the source of creation and life, we go RIGHT BACK TO IT again.

Well - - - here's one science teacher who sees creation as EVIDENCE of an orderly creator. Your little Elizabeth is exactly right - - - nothing left entirely to chance could EVER explain all the interdependent factors that exist in creation.

Smart young lady!!!


September 06, 2007 4:46 AM  
Blogger Keetha said...

Did you stay up for the WHOLE game?

I did - - -

You and I were WAY wrong in our predictions - - - but I'll be wrong THAT WAY anytime!!! :-)

I'm not listening to ANY MORE naysayers about our Colts!!!

September 07, 2007 4:29 AM  
Blogger Keetha said...

Not even ONE WORD about the Triathlon this year????

September 12, 2007 4:24 AM  
Blogger Keetha said...

I quote YOU:

"When I was a kid, I loved to read."

I still love to read - - - especially a NEW POST from YOU!!! ;-)

September 14, 2007 8:41 PM  
Blogger Anon said...

It must be something about new books these days. My son brought home a book who has an author that is distinguished by his "butt" books. Yeah, yeah, yeah, had a nice little talk....

....and middle school is just a step away. I may not survive.

September 16, 2007 10:05 PM  
Blogger Terhune family said...

Rachel loves those books! Thanks for the heads-up. BTW This science teacher agrees with that science teacher above. :)

October 07, 2007 10:56 PM  

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