Fans of Mary Pope Osborne’s Magic Tree House, as well as newcomers to the series, will have a chance to follow the adventures of its time-traveling protagonists in a new format next May, when Random House Books for Young Readers will publish Magic Tree House: The Graphic Novel: Dinosaurs Before Dark, the debut installment of a new series offering graphic novel adaptations of the original titles. Written by Osborne and adapted by Jenny Laird, the graphic novels will feature full-color illustrations by twin sisters and comic art duo Kelly and Nichole Matthews.
The new series will continue with The Knight at Dawn, due in fall 2021, and subsequent installments will follow at six-month intervals.
Heralded by parents, teachers, and librarians for its ability to spark a passion for reading in kids, the ongoing Magic Tree House series for readers ages six to nine spans more than 100 titles across four subseries and various expansions. Since its debut in 1992, the series has been translated into 35 languages and has sold upwards of 143 million books worldwide.
Laird, an award-winning playwright, is well versed in the Magic Tree House world. She and her husband, composer Randy Courts, collaborate with Will Osborne (Mary’s husband and co-author, with her sister Natalie Pope Boyce, of the Magic Tree House Fact Tracker series) on musical theater adaptations of the series’ books for Music Theater International’s Broadway Junior Collection. Currently the team is creating a Magic Tree House animated television series. Laird described adapting the Magic Tree House adventures into graphic novels as “pure joy. Mary’s books translate beautifully into other formats because they are masterfully constructed stories of ordinary kids in extraordinary circumstances, written from a deep, universal well of wisdom, humor, and humanity.”
“I’m so excited for Jack and Annie’s time travel adventures to reach a new generation of readers who are drawn to the thrilling visual experience that graphic novels provide,” Osborne said in a statement. “As with all of my books, I hope these adaptations will inspire children to learn more about world history and will instill in them a lifelong love of reading.”
Magic Tree House: The Graphic Novel: Dinosaurs Before Dark by Mary Pope Osborne, adapted by Jenny Laird, illus. by Kelly Matthews and Nichole Matthews. Random House, $16.99 May 4, 2021 ISBN 978-0-593-17468-5; $9.99 paper ISBN 978-0-593-17471-5.