I’ve read a great many of the Magic Treehouse series of books to my kids over the last few years, including #13, titled Vacation Under the Volcano, which I’ve read several times. In the series, Morgan le Fay inexplicably sends children on perilous adventures to perform menial tasks and learn obvious lessons. It’s all a little too cute, and when I first started reading these years ago, I kind of hated them. They’ve grown on me a bit over time.

In any case, as I said, I’ve read #13 several times, but only this time did it occur to me that the title incorporates the title of Malcom Lowry’s vaunted novel Under the Volcano, which details a very different sort of peril (dipsomania), though if I recall correctly, the protagonist shambles around the city for a day in much the way that Mary Pope Osborne’s Jack and Annie wander around on their brief journeys.

I wasn’t a great fan of Lowry’s book when I read it a long time ago but suspect I just wasn’t in the right mind set for it. It’s hard not to chuckle at the notion of a dark mashup of the two, however, with Jack and Annie prowling around Quauhnahuac on the Day of the Dead trashed on mescaline.

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