Random House: Bringing You the Best in Fiction, Nonfiction, and Children's Books
Newletters and Alerts

Buy now from Random House

  • Magic Tree House #40: Eve of the Emperor Penguin
  • Written by Mary Pope Osborne
    Illustrated by Sal Murdocca
  • Format: Trade Paperback | ISBN: 9780375837340
  • Our Price: $4.99
  • Quantity:
See more online stores - Magic Tree House #40: Eve of the Emperor Penguin

Buy now from Random House

  • Magic Tree House #40: Eve of the Emperor Penguin
  • Written by Mary Pope Osborne
    Illustrated by Sal Murdocca
  • Format: Hardcover | ISBN: 9780375837333
  • Our Price: $11.99
  • Quantity:
See more online stores - Magic Tree House #40: Eve of the Emperor Penguin

Buy now from Random House

  • Magic Tree House #40: Eve of the Emperor Penguin
  • Written by Mary Pope Osborne
    Illustrated by Sal Murdocca
  • Format: eBook | ISBN: 9780375894626
  • Our Price: $4.99
  • Quantity:
See more online stores - Magic Tree House #40: Eve of the Emperor Penguin

Buy now from Random House

  • Magic Tree House #40: Eve of the Emperor Penguin
  • Written by Mary Pope Osborne
    Read by Mary Pope Osborne
  • Format: Unabridged Audiobook Download | ISBN: 9780739372913
  • Our Price: $8.00
  • Quantity:
See more online stores - Magic Tree House #40: Eve of the Emperor Penguin

Magic Tree House #40: Eve of the Emperor Penguin

    Select a Format:
  • Book
  • eBook
  • Audiobook

Written by Mary Pope OsborneAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Mary Pope Osborne
Illustrated by Sal MurdoccaAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Sal Murdocca


List Price: $4.99


On Sale: December 23, 2008
Pages: 128 | ISBN: 978-0-375-89462-6
Published by : Random House Books for Young Readers RH Childrens Books

Audio Editions

Read by Mary Pope Osborne
On Sale: September 23, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-7393-7291-3
More Info...
Listen to an excerpt
Visit RANDOM HOUSE AUDIO to learn more about audiobooks.

Magic Tree House #40: Eve of the Emperor Penguin Cover

Share & Shelve:

  • Add This - Magic Tree House #40: Eve of the Emperor Penguin
  • Email this page - Magic Tree House #40: Eve of the Emperor Penguin
  • Print this page - Magic Tree House #40: Eve of the Emperor Penguin


JACK AND ANNIE continue their quest for the secrets of happiness—secrets they need to save Merlin. This time, the Magic Tree House takes them to the one continent they haven’t visited before: Antarctica! What can they hope to learn about happiness in such a barren place? Only the penguins know for sure . . . Jack and Annie are about to find out!

From the Hardcover edition.


CHAPTER SIX, All Fall Down

Nancy put away her radio and looked at Jack and Annie. “I don’t know how you two got past me.”
“We’re sorry,” said Annie.
“This is unbelievable!” said Nancy.
Jack couldn’t believe it, either. How did they mess up so badly?
“I’m so sorry I brought you here,” said Nancy.
“No, no, it’s our fault,” Jack said again.
“It’s mine, all mine, oh . . . ,” said Nancy. She seemed near tears. “You’re just little kids.” Not so little! thought Jack again. Gee!
A snowmobile rumbled outside, its engine warming up.
“Oh, dear,” said Nancy. “I’ve got to lead the group up a safe route to the crater, or they’ll be in trouble. But Pete should be back here in just a few minutes. Will you be okay by yourselves till then?”
“We’ll be fine, don’t worry,” said Annie.
“Good,” said Nancy. “Here, sweeties.” She poured some water into two cups and gave them to Jack and Annie. “Drink.” While they drank the water, Nancy spread a blanket on the floor and turned on the small heater.
“Lie down here,” she said. “Just rest.” She patted the blanket.
Jack and Annie lay down. Nancy covered them with another blanket. “If you get thirsty, drink more water,” she said.
“Thanks,” said Annie. Jack was too embarrassed to say anything. He felt like a preschool kid being put down for a nap.
“Okay!” Nancy said with a big sigh. “You kids nearly gave me a heart attack,” she repeated half to herself as she left the hut.
“Sorry,” said Jack.
But Nancy was gone.
Soon the roar and rumble of the snowmobiles filled the air as Nancy led the scientists and journalists up the mountain.
“We really messed up our mission this time,” said Jack, lying under the blanket.
“And we were doing so well, too,” said Annie. She sat up. “Can I see Morgan’s rhyme, please?”
Jack pulled the rhyme out of his pocket and handed it to Annie.
“Okay,” said Annie. She read aloud:
. . . then all fall down,
Till you come to the Cave of the Ancient Crown.
“I wonder if this counts as falling down?” said Annie. She put the rhyme into her pocket.
“I don’t think so,” said Jack. “I don’t know what that means. And there’s no ‘Ancient Crown’ in Antarctica. It’s all science and research and rules and helicopters and snowmobiles. . . . It’s the real world. . . . His voice trailed off.
“Well, I know one thing: I don’t want to waste time lying around here,” said Annie. She threw off the blanket and stood up. “At least I can take a few pictures while we wait for Pete.”
“You really feel like doing that?” said Jack.
“Not really, but I’m going to try,” said Annie.
“I don’t think you should,” said Jack.
“Don’t worry, I’ll be back soon,” said Annie. “Maybe I’ll see an ancient crown.”
“Yeah, sure,” said Jack.
Annie put on her goggles and ski mask and headed outside.
Jack reached into his pack and pulled out their book. He took off his glove and looked up ancient crown in the index. He wasn’t surprised to find it wasn’t there.
Jack put the book back in his pack and took out his notebook. He read over his notes:
Go slow!
Stay with others!
Cracks in ice!
Never touch wildlife!
Jack’s hand was cold, so he put his glove back on. He put away his notebook, and then laid his head back down and closed his eyes. He just wanted to sleep. The heat from the small heater felt good. The sound of the snowmobiles was fading into the distance. As he started to fall asleep, his notes ran through his mind: Stay with others! Cracks in the ice!
Oh, no!
thought Jack. He sat straight up. He tossed off the blanket. He threw on his pack and rushed out of the hut.
The wind was blowing the snow into icy clouds. Jack pulled up his ski mask and lowered his goggles. “Annie!” he shouted.
“What?” Her voice came from the distance.
Jack caught sight of her. She was aiming her camera up the slope at the smoking crater of the mountain.
“You have to come back now!” he shouted, walking toward her. “You shouldn’t be walking around by yourself!”
“Okay, okay.” Annie put her camera in her pocket.
“Come on,” said Jack. He took Annie’s hand. They held on to each other and walked through the blowing snow, toward the hut. “Remember Nancy’s rules?” said Jack. “There are deep cracks in– AHHH!”
Before Jack could finish, the ground beneath him gave way and he and Annie crashed through a thin layer of snow into a deep crack.
Jack and Annie landed on a ledge of ice. Clumps of snow fell on top of them. Silence filled the air. A thin shaft of light came from the opening they had fallen through. It was at least ten feet above them.
“You okay?” Jack said.
“I think so,” said Annie.
They both sat up slowly. Annie peered over the edge of the ledge. “Uh-oh,” she said. “Look.”
Jack looked. He and Annie were on the ledge of a ravine that plunged thousands of feet down into darkness.
“This must be one of those hidden places in the mountain Nancy talked about,” said Jack, “the ones made by the lava and hot gases.”
“It’s incredible,” said Annie. She reached into her pocket for her camera.
As soon as Annie moved, Jack heard the ice crack. “Don’t move!” he said.
Annie froze.
“Forget pictures,” said Jack. “We’re facing serious danger here. If we move, the ice might break under us and we’ll fall thousands of feet.”
“Got it,” said Annie. She took a deep breath. “Maybe we should use the wand.”
“We can’t,” said Jack. “The wand won’t work. We can only use it for the good of others, not just ourselves.”
“Darn,” said Annie.
They were both still for moment, listening to the immense silence around them.
“Okay,” said Annie. “The way I see it, if we don’t use the wand, we’ll be stuck here forever. Soon we’ll make the wrong move and fall.”
“Right,” said Jack.
“So we’ll never find the secret of happiness for Merlin,” said Annie. “Merlin will fade away completely from sorrow. And Camelot will lose his magic forever.”
“Right,” said Jack.
“So maybe in this case, rescuing ourselves isn’t just our good,” said Annie. “Our good is also the good of others, like Merlin.”
“Good thinking,” said Jack. “Let’s try it.” He carefully twisted around and took off his backpack. Then he very slowly reached inside and pulled out the Wand of Dianthus.
“Okay. Five words . . . ,” Jack whispered. “I guess I’ll just wish for it to save you and me and Merlin. Hey, why didn’t we make that wish a long time ago?”
“We couldn’t,” said Annie. “We hadn’t tried our hardest yet.”
“Right. Get ready . . . ,”said Jack. He closed his eyes, held up the gleaming silver wand, and said:
Jack waited a moment. Then he opened his eyes and looked around. “What happened?” he said.
“Nothing,” said Annie.
“So I guess it didn’t work,” said Jack. He turned to put the wand away. “I guess the rules must–”
CRACK! The ice broke! The ledge gave way!
“AHHH!” called Jack and Annie as they fell through the twilight, down through darkness,
down into blackness.

From the Hardcover edition.
Mary Pope Osborne

About Mary Pope Osborne

Mary Pope Osborne - Magic Tree House #40: Eve of the Emperor Penguin

Photo © Paul Coughlin

“I’m one of those very lucky people who absolutely loves what they do for a living. There is no career better suited to my eccentricities, strengths, and passions than that of a children’s book author.”—Mary Pope Osborne

Mary Pope Osborne is the author of the popular Magic Tree House series. She works with her husband Will and her sister Natalie on the nonfiction companion series, Magic Tree House Research Guides. Many of her books have been named to best-books lists.


“I grew up in the military. By the time I was 15, I had lived in Oklahoma, Austria, Florida, and four different army posts in Virginia and North Carolina. Moving was never traumatic for me, but staying in one place was. When my dad finally retired to a small town in North Carolina, I nearly went crazy with boredom. I craved the adventure and changing scenery of our military life. Miraculously, one day I found these things, literally only a block away—at the local community theater. From then on, I spent nearly every waking hour after school there.

“After graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the early 1970s, I lived an intensely varied life. For a while I camped in a cave on the island of Crete. Then I joined up with a small band of European young people heading to ‘The East.’ We traveled through 11 Asian countries and nearly lost our lives, first in an earthquake in northern Afghanistan and then in a riot in Kabul. My trip came to an abrupt halt in Katmandu when I got blood poisoning. During the two weeks I spent in a missionary hospital there, I read all of the Tolkien trilogy. To this day, my journey to ‘The East’ is tangled up in my mind with Frodo’s adventures.

“After I returned home and recovered from my illness, I promptly headed back into the real world. I worked as a window dresser, as a medical assistant, and as a Russian travel consultant. One night I attended the opening of a musical about Jesse James. From the balcony, I fell in love with Will Osborne, the actor/musician playing Jesse. I loved his boots and his white cowboy hat; I loved how he sang and strummed the guitar. A year later, in New York City, we were married.

“Thereafter, when I wasn’t on the road with Will, I worked as a waitress, taught acting classes in a nursing home, was a bartender, and had a job as an assistant editor for a children’s magazine.

“Then one day, out of the blue, I began writing a story about an 11-year-old girl in the South. The girl was a lot like me, and many of the incidents in the story were similar to happenings in my childhood. The first draft was crudely written, but it must have communicated something to an editor, because shortly after I finished, it became a young adult novel called Run, Run Fast as You Can. Finally, I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up.

"Now 24 years and 80 books later, I think I’m one of the most fortunate people on earth. Whenever I work on a book, I feel as if I’ve traveled to some amazing place in the world. Writing Tales from the Odyssey, I sailed with Odysseus through the ancient Greek world. Working on the Spider Kane Mysteries, I spent time in an abandoned cottage garden with a group of nutty and wonderful insects. Working on my novel Haunted Waters, I lived in a haunted castle with a sea spirit. While working on my new picture book, Pompeii: Lost and Found, I felt as if I myself were excavating an ancient Roman city. And of course, with my Magic Tree House series, I take daily journeys with Jack and Annie to different times and places, from the prehistoric world of dinosaurs to the world of Camelot. Though there are 36 books of fiction and 13 non-fiction books in the Magic Tree House series now, I don’t think I’ll ever run out of places to travel to in my imagination.

"The Magic Tree House has also whisked me to schools all over the country, and the contact I now have with millions of readers has brought overwhelming joy into my life. I love the letters I get and I love reading the countless Magic Tree House stories that children themselves have written. I feel as if my readers and I are all exploring the creative process together, using our imaginations and writing skills to take us wherever we want to go. This, I tell my small fellow authors, is true magic."


We passed an old dilapidated tree house . . .

I spent a year trying different ways to get two kids back in time. I tried an enchanted cellar with magic whistles, an enchanted museum, and an enchanted artist’s studio. I wrote seven different manuscripts using different magical devices and nothing worked. Then on a walk in the country with my husband, we passed an old dilapidated tree house. We started talking about the tree house . . . and continued talking about it. The next day I tried writing about it—to see if it might possibly be magic. And it was.

I’m aching to hang out with penguins . . .

My stories always coincide with my personal interests, which seem fairly unlimited at this point. I find that the more you learn, the more you want to learn. I want to take Jack and Annie to Antarctica. I’m aching to hang out with penguins.

They started dreaming me up . . .

At first I just dreamed Jack and Annie up. They seem so happy and complete. I don’t want to subject them to the awful peer pressure that comes with growing older. They’d probably start hanging around the mall instead of climbing into the tree house.

My brothers and I had great adventures on our bikes and in the woods and on the beach where we lived. We felt as though we’d been to far distant worlds by the time we came home—adventures we happily kept to ourselves. I want kids to live through Jack and Annie’s independent journeys as well as their own!

It’s harmonious teamwork . . .

My editor has had an incalculable impact on these books. She has worked on all [the] books to date, and has been a great inspiration and guide. The series has a wonderful illustrator, Sal Murdocca. Sal researches the illustrations himself, and he’s very flexible and open to my ideas. The series’ designer and editor also have input into the art. It’s harmonious teamwork.


I’m a creature of constant change . . .

No two days of writing for the last 20 odd years have been the same. I write at every time of the day. I carry my laptop to every part of the house—or to places outside the house. I’m a creature of constant change. I do a lot of research before I start writing, but I do a great deal more after I start writing, as I confront more and more questions about the subject matter.

I’m living an extraordinary life . . .

The best part of being a writer is being transported to other places and living other experiences. By surrounding myself with the smells, weather, animals, and people of imaginary landscapes, I feel as if I’m living an extraordinary life. The worst part of being a writer is not having enough time or energy to write all the things I want to write.

I started writing poetry in high school . . .

I was living in North Carolina and I loved the work of Thomas Wolfe. Not until my late twenties did I have any idea I could be a writer. I only knew that I loved living in my imagination, and that no matter what job I was doing, my mind and thoughts were elsewhere. I was ready to settle for being a professional daydreamer.

I’ve had too many favorite authors to list . . .

As a child, I loved Frances Hodgson Burnett and Laura Ingalls Wilder. In my teen years: Thomas Wolfe, J. D. Salinger, Hermann Hesse, and Jack Kerouac. In my twenties: Tolstoy, Nabokov, E. B. White, and Colette. Since then I’ve had too many to list. The Little Princess, The Three Ugly Sisters, and Big Farmer Big were my favorite books.

To aspiring writers:

Write, write, write. Always try to have fun and at the same time always do the hard work of rewriting.

Mary Pope Osborne is the author of many highly acclaimed books for children and young adults, including novels, picture books, biographies, mysteries, and retellings of fairy tales, myths, and tall tales. She has completed two terms as president of the Author’s Guild, the leading organization for professional writers in the United States.



“Mary Pope Osborne provides nicely paced excitement for young readers, and there’s just enough information mixed in so that children will take away some historical fact along with a sense of accomplishment at having completed a chapter book.”—Children’s Literature on the Magic Tree House series

“A rousing adventure tale filled with dancing fairies, white stags, and hideous beasts.”—School Library Journal on Christmas in Camelot


—A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
—A Bulletin Blue Ribbon Book
—An NCSS–CBC Notable Children’s Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies
—An ABC Children’s Booksellers’ Choice Award


—An American Bookseller Pick of the Lists
—A Parents Magazine Best Book of the Year


—An Edgar Award Nominee for Best Juvenile Mystery


—A Parents’ Choice Story Book Honor
—A Children’s Book Committee at Bank Street College Best Book of the Year

The Ways We Worship

—An Orbis Pictus Honor Book, National Council of Teachers of English


WINNER CBC Awards & Honors

Your E-Mail Address
send me a copy

Recipient's E-Mail Address
(multiple addresses may be separated by commas)

A personal message: