I hope everyone’s enjoying our reading of Magic Tree House so far! Ariel and I have been talking about revisiting more series we enjoyed when we were kids, like our annual Goosebumps reading, because it’s fun to laugh about what remarkably low standards we had when we were kids. And it’s nice to take a little break from what remarkably low standards some actual adults still have.
Chapter 4: Henry
Jack watches on in horror as his little sister Annie approaches the Pteranodon. If you’re already lost, you should probably read Ariel’s post yesterday. It’ll take just as long as summarizing it will take. [Ariel says: In a nutshell: Dinosaurs, motherfucker.]
Jack has a perfectly reasonable objections to his sister approaching a live dinosaur.
Oh, brother. She was always trying to make friends with animals. But this was going too far.
Perhaps too reasonable. [Ariel says: I’m really loving how jaded Jack is; it’s hilarious. It’s like, I never thought a kid could be jaded about something as insane as a real, living and breathing dinosaur, but Jack is just too cool for school. It’d be like if I met the whole cast of 30 Rock, and was just like, “Oh brother, the casts of my favorite television shows are always just showing up unannounced. What next? Everyone from Arrested Development? Sheesh.“]
Annie starts talking to the Pteranodon and names it Henry, using the infallible logic that it is just like their neighbor’s dog, Henry. [Ariel says: Did he also poop in Jack and Annie’s garden or something?] Jack gathers the courage to go check out the scene himself, because “It would be good to examine the creature. Take notes. Like a scientist.” Which is apparently something he is now interested in doing.
Annie pressures Jack into petting the live Pteranodon. Jesus, Annie, let the man breathe. Jack pets the dinosaur, and is surprised to feel a thin layer of fuzz.
“We’re probably the first people in the whole world to ever see a real live Pteranodon.” […] Jack reached into his backpack and pulled out a pencil and a notebook. He wrote:
Having taken notes that will certainly prove invaluable in the future, Jack moves on taking notes about things he is observing and moves on to pure speculation.
“I wonder how smart he is,” Jack said.
“Very smart,” said Annie.
“Don’t count on it,” said Jack. “his brain’s probably no bigger than a bean.” […] Jack wrote in his notebook:small brain?
And then we get just the most out-there note that I’m gonna give you without context, much like the scientific community reading Jack’s notebook would find themselves having to do:
mouth like scissors?
Then Annie sees another huge dinosaur! AAAAAAAAA!
Chapter 5: Gold in the Grass
Jack and Annie retreat back into the tree house and observe the dinosaur, which they determine is a Triceratops. They then look up whether a triceratops eats meat or plants (even though they are currently watching it eat plants), because remember when you were so young you didn’t already know what dinosaurs would hypothetically eat you? I didn’t know a single person who hadn’t committed to memory which dinosaurs would kill them as soon as look at them by the age of, like, four. Dinosaurs are sweet, yo. [Ariel says: Seriously, I used to watch every dinosaur related movie I could get my hands on. I especially loved We’re Back! which was sooo good.]
Having determined that the triceratops is not a threat (or at least will not eat them, which is a good enough lesson for children about interacting with large wild animals I guess) [Ariel says: I would be concerned about being trampled on personally], Annie encourages Jack to go check it out. Jack agrees after Annie promises that she will not pet it. Or kiss it. For some reason. Look, this is what’s in the book. My job’s just to tell it like it is.
The dinosaur was incredibly big. Bigger than a truck.
Jack takes more notes, like “eats flowers” and “eats slowly” [Ariel says: This is going to change the face of science forever. Everything we once thought we knew about dinosaurs was only mostly true!] Annie continues being a goddamn troublemaker and throws herself in front of the triceratops. Fortunately, it merely expresses vague disinterest and then leaves, prompting Jack to note perhaps his deepest, most insightful observation yet:
Annie and Jack decide to continue exploring, when Jack finds a new plot device:
As Jack started after Annie, he saw something glittering in the tall grass. He reached out and picked it up.
A medallion. A gold medallion. A letter was engraved on the medallion. A fancy M.
“Oh, man. Someone came here before us,” Jack said softly.
Spoiler: We do not find out whose medallion it is. Guess we need to read the other fifty Magic Tree House books. [Ariel says: Damn it, Mary Pope Osborne, you’re crafty I’ll give you that.]