By Mary Pope Osborne, Illustrated by Sal Murdocca
Random House Books for Young Readers, $12.99, 120 pages
For more than two decades, children’s author Mary Pope Osborne has been taking kids on adventures across the globe and through time with siblings Jack and Annie in the Magic Tree House series. The 51st book in the series was just published, and High Time for Heroes continues the series’ mix of history and fantasy to create an exciting, information-packed story for older elementary-aged children. In this newest adventure, Jack and Annie, who so many stories ago discovered the Magic Tree House in the woods near their home, find themselves in Thebes, Egypt seeking out the English nurse Florence Nightingale in order to learn from her a secret of greatness. They have previously learned about humility and hard work from Alexander the Great and Harry Houdini. When they meet Nightingale in Egypt, however, she is not yet the world famous nurse she is to become. As they travel through Egypt learning its history and dodging dangerous situations, Jack and Annie end up with injuries that Nightingale nurses for them. The children learn from her that she wishes to be a hospital nurse and have purpose in life (her secret of greatness). Jack and Annie become witness to a life-changing moment for Nightingale as she decides to pursue her dream.
Reviewed by Michael Barton