In what was possibly one of the darkest cliffhangers in Magic Treehouse history, we left off wondering if a child had just died after being kicked in the head by a horse. There was blood trickling down his head. THIS IS A BOOK FOR KIDS.
Chapter 7: Sam’s Farm
The chapter begins immediately in the aftermath, with Jack saying he doesn’t know whether Sam is dead or not, and telling us that “this was one of the worst things that had ever happened.” This is coming from someone that has traveled through time and was literally on the fucking Titanic, so shit is obviously very real. Don’t worry, though, Sam’s just fine somehow.
Sam’s eyes opened. ‘Giddyup,’ he said weakly.
This sounds more like something that would happen in a standard episode of Loony Tunes rather than how this child should be reacting to his near-death experience. Jack’s reaction is also a major under-reaction.
Jack laughed with relief. “Whew, we were afraid you were dead!”
It’s not so much the laughing with relief but the breezy “whew” that really threw me off. Whew is something you say when you thought you were going to miss your bus but you got on just in time, not what you say when you thought someone was dead.
Annie stupidly asks if Sam’s head hurts. No, Annie, he was kicked in the head by a horse but it just tickled. Whew.
Sam says the closest doctor is 35 miles away and that he needs to get back home. Jack reluctantly agrees with Annie that the right thing to do is help Sam get home (mind you, Sam has just fallen over again because he’s so dizzy and in so much pain, so yes, Jack, it’s the right thing to do you heartless bastard.)
He know it was the right thing to do. But as soon as we get him home to his parents, we have to find Abraham Lincoln.
Mind you, the reason they have to find Abraham Lincoln isn’t actually as hugely important as the statement would lead you to believe. They need to help undo a spell accidentally cast on a penguin, so it seems like ensuring Sam’s safety could be pushed to the forefront of priorities. [Matthew says: Not to mention they, you know, have a time machine. Sure, they’re super lost right now, but I feel like time running out is not their biggest problem.]
Jack, being a selfish little shit, has this thought as they start heading to Sam’s farm:
This isn’t the way things are supposed to happen, Jack thought. He knew they were supposed to trust the magic. But now they were helping the person who was supposed to help them.
For the one who is supposed to be super intelligent, Jack is kind of a moron in addition to being a dick. Because you can never help someone and then have them help you after the fact? “Saaaam, you weren’t supposed to get kicked in the head by a horse and almost die. You were supposed to somehow help us with magic and penguins and tree houses!!!” [Matthew says: Wait a second, why didn’t they travel back in time and tell their dipshit friend not to practice magic on the penguin in the first place? This is a very inefficient use of time travel.]
The kids are travelling on horseback, and after like two seconds they start asking Sam where his farm is, and he’s like, “This is it.”
Sam pointed to the cabin and shed.
That’s it? Jack thought. Sam’s family must be really poor.
Jack, please keep your thoughts somehow more to yourself, you are terrible. Unfortunately, Jack continues to have incredibly bitchy thoughts like, “Not much of a farm” and “Well at least it didn’t take us long to get here.” As though if the farmhouse had been a palace it would have negated any extra time it took to get them there.
No one is home when they take Sam inside, and he literally crumples to the floor, horrifying Jack and Annie. They then help him to his bed which is just basically some corn husks, and he tells them that the only person who will be home to take care of him later is his sister Sarah and she won’t be home till dark. GOD DAMN IT, ABE LINCOLN NOT FUCKING AT LAST.
They also realize it’s a different time of year than when they were at the White House, so something is amiss. The chapter ends with Jack saying they’re going to stay and make sure Sam’s okay, and that he actually wants to be there. Yeah, sure, Jack.
Chapter 8: Into the Rough
In a turn of events that can only be described as thrilling, Jack and Annie offer to do Sam’s chores for him. [Matthew says: I’m sorry, is this Allegiant day? I thought we weren’t reading an aimlessly meandering narrative today.]
They manage to try and give up on most of Sam’s chores in all of a page – “I can’t pull this axe from the log to split wood. I give up! Let’s go milk the cow. Oh, nah, this looks too hard.”
Anyway, they attempt the next item on the list, which is to head through the rough to get water for the spring. This just leads to more whining from Jack and more upbeat nonsense from Annie.
“It’s weird,” said Annie. “Even though helping Sam isn’t part of our mission, I feel like doing one good thing is somehow connected to doing another good thing. If we’re helping Sam, we’re also helping Penny.”
Penny is the fucking penguin that this whole book series apparently centers around now. And if helping Sam is helping Penny then isn’t that specifically connected to the mission? What kind of logic is this? I feel like even though eating ice cream isn’t part of my diet, I feel like by eating ice cream I’m somehow still on my diet. Like if I’m eating ice cream, I’m still losing weight.
The chapter ends with the kids hearing growling coming from nearby. Uh oh! [Matthew says: Get excited to never fucking learn what’s growling.]
Chapter 9: Corn Bread and Molasses
Jack and Annie run back to the cabin and find Sam splitting a log. Sam is such a badass. He’s like, “Yeah I did all my chores.” And Jack and Annie are like, “We did fuck all.”
Sam promises he’ll be able to introduce them to Abe Lincoln soon, but I’m Skeptical because most of the chapter is just Sam telling them about his life and how they make all of their own food from scratch.
The chapter ends with Sam excited to show Jack and Annie his homework. Jack is like, “Uhhh can’t we just leave at this point.” And for once I’m inclined to agree with him.