Most people can name one book series from elementary school that helped shape their childhood forever. For me, that book series was “Magic Tree House” by Mary Pope Osborne, which follows siblings Jack and Annie through their adventures with a time-traveling tree house. In every book, the tree house transports the siblings—and the reader—to a different time and place throughout history with the iconic words, “The tree house started to spin. It spun faster and faster. Then, everything was still. Absolutely still.”
To me, those words signified the start of another great journey, filled with historical tidbits and magical mysteries. In my childhood, I traveled with Jack and Annie to Ancient Greece, outer space and the time of the dinosaurs. It felt like I rode gondolas through Venice and sailed on the Titanic, all from the comfort of my bedroom. My love for the book series got to the point where I begged my dad to let me build my own magic tree house in our backyard, despite knowing that I couldn’t even put together a chair from IKEA.
As time passed, more fantastical elements were added to the “Magic Tree House” series, from the magical land of Camelot to the beloved sorcerer’s apprentices Teddy and Kathleen. Even as the series matured and the books grew in length, one thing remained the same. On a rainy day, or whenever I’m just particularly craving the joy of childhood, I can always pick up one of Osborne’s books and join Jack and Annie in their magic tree house. Together, we’ll start to spin, faster and faster, until everything goes still. Absolutely still.