Author: Mary Pope Osborne
Illustrator: Sal Murdocca
Age Range: 6-9 or Grades: 1-5
Blurb: “Gentle giants or giant monsters? That’s the question Jack and Annie have about gorillas when the Magic Tree House sweeps them to the mountains of Africa. There they meet a group of amazing and sometimes frightening mountain gorillas. Annie knows how to play with the creatures right away. But Jack is left out. Will the gorillas be able to teach him some special magic?”
About: Jack and Annie are up and ready to go at 5 in the morning. When they get to the treehouse they find a new book with a note from Morgan sticking out of it. The book is taking them to the African rain forest, which is the second rain forest they have been to. Before we know it, Jack and Annie have arrived so high in the trees they are in a “cloud forest” and Jack immediately digs into the research to find out what animals they may encounter: black leopards, elephants, gorillas, or wild hogs.
As Jack and Annie start exploring outside the treehouse, they encounter a small gorilla who Annie immediately names Bu-Bu based on the noises he was making. As Annie was playing with Bu-Bu, Jack kept busy taking notes on his observations of their new friend. Annie mimics everything that Bu-Bu does including climbing the trees but soon falls. Luckily, she is ok and rests while Jack goes back for his things. Before we know it, it is pitch black and Jack can’t find Annie again so he decides to wait until daylight to find her.
Bu-Bu awakes Jack and takes him to where Annie is, which happens to be with his troop. They aren’t quite sure what to think of Jack, especially the silverback when he sees Jack taking notes. Annie is still sleeping but Jack was able to get himself over there and awake her. While with the gorillas, Jack and Annie discover what it is Morgan wanted them to gain from their trip and Jack gained respect from the silverback when he protected the troop from a predator.
Activities to try with the book:
–Sign Language: Learn some basic sign language. When I was in college I had the opportunity to take an introduction to American Sign Language course and to this day I still find myself using some of the signs and teaching my students. I recommend learning the ABCs, yes, no, and some signs of activities you do on a regular basis (eat, drink, etc.).
–Video: Today’s story mentioned a famous gorilla named Koko that learned sign language. I recommend a video on YouTube called A Conversation with Koko where you can see this in action.
–Gorilla Craft: As always, I have crafts that match the current book on my Pinterest board that matches this book. There is one I found that is a gorilla origami or you could create a climbing gorilla that looks like a marionette puppet to me!
–Writing Prompt: What do you think it would be like to wake up to gorillas?
Up Next: Thanksgiving on Thursday
If you complete any of the activities, please tag me on Instagram: @readingthroughthelibrary
I would love to see what you do!
You can also see more activities related to the book on Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/Readingthroughthelibrary