Title of the work
Country of the First Edition
First Edition Date
First Edition Details
Mary Pope Osborne, Vacation Under the Volcano, Magic Treehouse series # 13, illustrated by Sal Murdocca, New York: Random House, 1998. 76pp.
Osborne’s awards for her works include: Ludington Memorial Award from the Educational Paperback Association, Lifetime Achievement Award from the Random House Sales Force, Heidelberger Leander Award (Germany, 2010), Minion Academy Global Literature Award (Japan, 2011), Books-Ago-Go Literacy Award (2015), Jupiter Award for Science Education (2015); Best Books of the Year Lists of School Library Journal, Parents’ Magazine, Publishers Weekly, the Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, and Bank Street College; awards from the Parents Choice Foundation, the Children’s Book Council, and the International Reading Association, the Boston Public Library, the Atlanta Public Library, the Carolina Alumni Association, the Virginia Library Association, and the Delaware Library Association; Honorary Doctorate of Letters from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2013).
Action and adventure fiction
Magic realist fiction
Children (6-8 years old)
We are still trying to obtain permission for posting the original cover.
Author of the Entry:
Babette Puetz, Victoria University of Wellington, email@example.com
Peer-reviewer of the Entry:
Elizabeth Hale, University of New England, firstname.lastname@example.org
Elżbieta Olechowska, University of Warsaw, email@example.com
Salvatore (Sal) Murdocca
, b. 1943
Salvatore (Sal) Murdocca is an illustrator from New York, living in France. He has illustrated advertisements and picture books, including the Magic Tree House series.
Profile at magictreehouse.com (accessed: January 9, 2020)
Bio prepared by Babette Puetz, Victoria University of Wellington, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mary Pope Osborne
, b. 1949
Mary Pope Osborne lives in Connecticut. She has written over 100 books for children and young adults: mysteries, novels, retellings of myths (including a six part series retelling of the Odyssey), biographies, picture books, a book of American Tall Tales, and a book for young readers about the major world religions. She is best known for her best-selling Magic Tree House series (the first volume of which was published in 1992).
More than 135 million copies of the Magic Tree House series have sold worldwide. The series has been translated into more than 30 languages. Osborne has also co-authored a companion series to the Magic Tree House books, together with her husband Will Osborne and her sister Natalie Pope Boyce and in 2012, Osborne created a Magic Tree House Classroom Adventures Program at here (online resources for teachers to promote literacy, accessed: October 1, 2018).
The Magic Tree House series was a #1 New York Times best seller. In 2006, the popularity of the series outdid that of Harry Potter as #1 on the New York Times Bestseller list (according to Cynthia Haven, Stanford University, see here, accessed: October 1, 2018). The series has received awards from the National Council of Teachers of English and the American Booksellers Association.
Moreover, Osborne’s awards for her works include: Ludington Memorial Award from the Educational Paperback Association, Lifetime Achievement Award from the Random House Sales Force, Heidelberger Leander Award (Germany, 2010), Minion Academy Global Literature Award (Japan, 2011), Books-Ago-Go Literacy Award (2015), Jupiter Award for Science Education (2015); Best Books of the Year Lists of School Library Journal, Parents’ Magazine, Publishers Weekly, the Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, and Bank Street College; awards from the Parents Choice Foundation, the Children’s Book Council, and the International Reading Association, the Boston Public Library, the Atlanta Public Library, the Carolina Alumni Association, the Virginia Library Association, and the Delaware Library Association; Honorary Doctorate of Letters from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2013).
Osborne is a passionate advocate of literacy and access to theatre for children. Several Magic Tree House books have been adapted for children’s theatre productions, including musicals.
Other Classics related books by the author:
The Deadly Power of Medusa (Scholastic, 1988), Will and Mary Pope Osborne, illustrated by Steve Sullivan
Jason and the Argonauts (Scholastic, 1988), Will and Mary Pope Osborne, ill. Steve Sullivan
Favorite Greek Myths (Scholastic, 1989), retold by Osborne, ill.. Troy Howell
Tales from the Odyssey (Hyperion Books, 2002 to 2005), ill. Troy Howell — six children's novels adapted from Odyssey
Tales from the Odyssey (Hyperion, 2010), a two-volume edition
Website of the series (accessed: October 1, 2018)
Bio prepared by Babette Puetz, Victoria University of Wellington, email@example.com
All of the Magic Tree House series books are available as Listening Library audio books, narrated by Mary Pope Osborne.
Magic tree house collection #4, Mary Pope Osborne, Audiobook on Cassette : Cassette recording,
Language: English, Publisher: Listening Library, 2002.
In 2011, a Japanese anime based on the Magic Tree House series (which was the number one children’s book series in Japan) came out: Magic Tree House (マジック・ツリーハウス) 2012, produced by TV Tokyo, Dentsu, TV Osaka, Media Factory, GAGA, Yahoo! Japan.
Im Schatten des Vulkans
by Mary Pope Osborne; Jutta Knipping; Sabine Rahn
Publisher: Bindlach Loewe 2010
Panique à Pompéi
by Mary Pope Osborne; Marie-Hélène Delval; Philippe Masson
Publisher: [Montrouge] : Bayard Jeunesse, 2017.
Una vacanza vulcanica a Pompei
by Mary Pope Osborne; Sal Murdocca; Elcograf,
Publisher: Milano : Piemme, 2016.
Vacaciones Al Pie De Un Volcan
by Mary Pope Osborne; Sal Murdocca; Marcela Brovelli;
Publisher: Paw Prints, 2007.
Vacaciones en Pompeya
by Mary Pope Osborne; Sal Murdocca; Macarena Salas
Publisher: Madrid : SM, 2005.
I vulkanens skygge
by Mary Pope Osborne
Publisher: Kbh. : Carlsen, 2008.
Wakacje pod wulkanem
by Mary Pope Osborne; Sal Murdocca; Irena Domańska-Kubiak; Krzysztof Kubiak
Publisher: Warszawa : Egmont, 2005.
Férias sob o vulcão
by Mary Pope Osborne; Sal Murdocca
Publisher: São Paulo : Farol Literário, 2013.
Ponpei saigo no hi.
by Mary Pope Osborne; Masako Meshino;
Publisher: KADOKAWA, Kadokawa.
폼페이 최후의 날 /
P'omp'ei ch'oehu ŭi nal
by Mary Pope Osborne; Sal Murdocca; Ŭn-jŏng No
Publisher: 비룡소, Sŏul-si : Piryongso, 2003.
古城末日 : [中英双语] = Vacation under the volcano /
Gu cheng mo ri : [Zhong ying shuang yu] = Vacation under the volcano
by 奥斯本 (女,Osborne, Mary Pope) Mary Pope Osborne.; Baochun Lan; Chun Lan
Publisher: 湖北少年儿童出版社, Wuhan : Hu bei shao nian er tong chu ban she, 2011.
Madīnah taḥt al-rrumād
by Mary Pope Osborne; Philippe Masson
Publisher: Bayrūt : Hāshit ʼAnṭuān, 2014.
In the Magic Tree House books, American siblings Jack and Annie (from Pennsylvania) are sent on missions in different times and places from a magic tree house by Morgan le Fay, a benevolent fairy who is a mother figure to the children. Their task is to recover a lost story in Latin, entitled: Vir Fortissimus in Mundo. This story used to be in a library in ancient Pompeii. Morgan le Fay also provides the siblings with a book called Life in Roman Times, which, throughout their adventure, they peruse frequently to find out facts and information about ancient Roman life.
The children are transported to an olive grove outside ancient Pompeii. They find themselves wearing tunics, sandals and leather-bags. They use their book to find out where they are and in which year (AD 79). They feel the ground shaking, but still set out for the city of Pompeii, crossing a dried-up stream.
On their way through Pompeii, trying to find the library, they see gladiators and a number of sites, such as the temple of Jupiter. A soothsayer warns them that the end is near, but also tells them the location of the library in the villa of Brutus. There, the children find the Latin scroll with the right title.
Jack learns from his book that Mount Vesuvius will erupt on the very day they are in Pompeii at noon. A sundial shows that it is almost that time. A terrible earthquake starts. Jack reads in his book that Pompeii will be covered in pumice, which they see falling down shortly after. They protect their heads with pillows and flee through the chaos of Pompeii, noticing the great damage to buildings. When they come to the dried-up stream, they see that the bridge they had used earlier has caved in. When they try to cross it, they get stuck in the pumice. They remember Morgan’s advice that the story they had to find will save them. Annie pulls the ancient scroll out of Jack’s bag, holds it up to the sky and shouts: “Save us, story!” Suddenly, a larger-than-life gladiator appears and rescues the Annie and Jack. The children run to the Magic Tree House and are transported back home. There they find out from Morgan le Fay that the title of the story refers to Hercules, who was the one who rescued them.
Much of this novel is set in ancient Pompeii. It is an introduction for young readers into ancient Roman life and, specifically the historical event of the eruption of Mt Vesuvius. Readers of this book learn many facts about ancient Pompeii and ancient Roman life, in general, mostly through dictionary-style entries from Morgan’s book Life in Roman Times.
In this series a time-travel device, the magic tree house, is used to educate young readers in a number of basic facts about the ancient world. The narrative is structured around a quest which is the reason why Jack and Annie travel around Pompeii and experience a variety of aspects of Roman everyday life, as well as the eruption of Mt Vesuvius.
The aspects of everyday life shown are centered around topics which children can easily relate to by comparison to their own world, such as food, clothing and everyday life in a shopping street. We hear in some detail what a Roman villa looked like on the inside. Some famous buildings and sites are also mentioned, as well as some typical Roman professions, in particular gladiators. To add excitement to the story and set it in a particular historical context, it is told against the background of the eruption of Mt Vesuvius.
Several of the facts of Roman life mentioned are depicted in black and white illustrations. The novel itself is followed by two pages of facts about Pompeii and ancient Rome.
Pliny, Letters 6.16
Mary Pope Osborne and Natalie Pope Boyce, illustr. Sal Murdocca, Ancient Rome and Pompeii: A Nonfiction Companion to Magic Tree House # 13: Vacation Under the Volcana, New York: Random House, 2006.