Magic Tree House

Sudden Industries creates a magical new digital world of adventure for Random House’s legendary series, Magic Tree House.

The Story

The Magic Tree House is an American series of children's books written by American author Mary Pope Osborne and published by Random House Children's Books. The first Magic Tree House book was published in 1992 — introducing the world to Jack and Annie, a brother and sister who discover a magical tree house filled with books. Since then, the magic tree house has whisked Jack and Annie — and lucky readers — on many more adventures through time to different places around the world. Sudden was chosen by Random House Children's Books to help reboot the brand and upgrade its digital efforts, including a new site and games that promote the Magic Tree House series.


Random House Children's Books


Content Strategy, Product Ideation, User Experience and Interaction Design, Art Direction, Responsive Web Design, Original Content, Animation


2017 - Best Publishing Website - Davey Awards
2017 - Best Publishing Website - Internet Advertizing Competition
2017 - Best Publishing Website - W3 Awards
2017 - Outstanding Archivement for a Publishing Site - Web Marketing Associaion

The Challenge

  • Upgrading a very popular site with a large existing avid fan base (both young and old) while staying true to the original brand
  • Creating a child targeted site that also provides excellent companion information for both parents and teachers
  • Promoting and providing easy access to a very large catalog of fiction and non-fiction Magic Tree House titles
  • Designing and developing a very large-scale mission based game that promoted each and every title in the series
  • Porting a large audience of registered users into a new database of Magic Tree House games
  • Providing in-class resources and activities to promote reading through the Magic Tree House series.

Our Solution

Sudden wanted the new Magic Tree House site to reflect the new, sophisticated branding that Random House was using to market the series to a wider audience demographic. That meant a cleaner, bolder site that was responsive for mobile delivery across a variety of devices. Overall brand assets and style guides were simplified and slightly modernized, without losing the charm of the established brand. And many of the existing web assets were redesigned or upgraded to reflect this subtle brand changes as well. Most importantly, as the pre-existing Magic Tree House site already had a very large audience of registered members, we needed to find a way to retain that audience as we created new games and updated older ones. Sudden created a new mission-based approach to the games that allowed Magic Tree House fans to "travel the world" like Jack and Annie, and earn rewards and "passport stamps" for their successful missions. This same type of mission-based game logic was also used to support an in-class reading rewards program, Kids Adventure Club, where children were rewarded with unique, real-world prizes based on the number of chapters read across multiple Magic Tree House titles.

The Results

Though the web site and games have only recently been launched, the early feedback has been good.

  • Site traffic remains high and continues to grow.
  • Initial feedback (including extensive user testing) from children, parents and teachers has been glowing. Kids like the new games and find the missions challenging but fun. Parents and teachers, who were originally leery of tampering with a proven success, are responding very positively to the new upgraded branding and user experience design changes.
  • The transfer and migration of existing site members into new site members in the newly upgraded Magic Tree House site went very smoothly, with little to no loss of user profiles or pertinent data and a smooth transition for all longtime fans of the site.
  • In 2017, the Web Marketing Association awarded Outstanding Achievement for a Publishing Site.

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