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Carnival at Candlelight: Magic Tree House #33    by Mary Pope Osborne order for
Carnival at Candlelight
by Mary Pope Osborne
Order:  USA  Can
Random House, 2006 (2005)
Hardcover, Paperback
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

I'm always happy to review a new book in the Magic Tree House series that gave my son such reading pleasure when he was younger. Carnival at Candlelight is the fifth of the Merlin Missions, the first four of which took Jack and Annie to mythical lands. Mary Pope Osborne tells us that in subsequent Merlin Missions the siblings 'will have fantasy adventures in real places in real times.'

This one takes them to one of my own favorite destinations - Venice, Italy! Teddy and Kathleen show up at the treehouse with 10 Magic Rhymes for their friends to use in their next four journeys. It's a test. If they use them wisely, Jack and Annie will be taught to make magic on their own. They go back in time to a Venice of 260 years ago, with Merlin's instructions to save 'the Grand Lady of the Lagoon' from disaster.

When a costumed Jack and Annie arrive, it's Carnival in Venice and they're caught up in the celebrations. They sneak into the Doge's palace, escape from a rat-filled prison cell, meet a young painter, climb a watchtower, and ride a winged lion to beg a boon from the Ruler of the Seas. As always, Jack's planning and Annie's daring blend into a winning combination, and disaster is averted.

The book ends with Facts about Venice, an Author's Research Note, a flying-lion window cling, and a preview of the next adventure, Season of the Sandstorms.

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