The 13-Story Treehouse



Madcap mayhem perfect for Big Nate fans.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids might want to team up with friends to write a book together, just like Andy and Terry -- or at least design their own dream treehouse.

Positive messages

Beneath the zany mayhem is a message about working together: Andy struggles to keep Terry on task, and the friends squabble. In the end, they need to combine their talents to get the job done.

Positive role models

The boys recognize the importance of honoring their commitment to their publisher, despite their difficulty settling down to work. Terry apologizes after hitting Andy with a banana.

Violence & scariness

During an argument, one of the boys whacks the other with a giant banana. Andy throws the TV over the side, narrowly missing a pedestrian. A sea monster threatens to devour Terry. A giant gorilla invades the tree house and is attacked by a flock of flying cats.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The 13-Story Treehouse is pure fun, with just a few crude references to amuse the target audience, including "poo" and a "rude finger." Though it doesn't offer any deep lessons, it serves up a heaping pile of silliness that might ignite creativity. The mix of narrative and comic illustrations puts this in the same camp as Big Nate and Wimpy Kid, but this new series is less crude and more positive. The boys make questionable decisions -- such as not telling their friend they turned her missing cat into a canary, and waiting until the last minute to finish an assignment -- but it's generally harmless fun.

Kids say

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What's the story?

Andy and Terry have to turn in a new story to Mr. Big Nose, their publisher, tomorrow -- but they haven't even started it yet! They find it's hard to focus when you live in a 13-story treehouse with a game room, a bowling alley, a lemonade fountain, an underground lab, and a machine that shoots marshmallows into your mouth. Every time they settle down to work, they're distracted -- by a TV show, a sea monster, a burp-filled bubblegum bubble, a bunch of monkeys, a giant gorilla, flying cats. ... Eventually they realize they don't need to struggle to come up with a story.

Is it any good?


THE 13-STORY TREEHOUSE is a promising start to a series by longtime collaborators Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton. The plot is almost irrelevant: It's a light frame to support a string of ridiculous adventures. The black-and-white line drawings are delightful, packed with tiny gags. Treehouse invites comparisons to the Big Nate and Wimpy Kid books, but its humor is gentler. The boys are fun loving and carefree, and there's no social angst or middle-school sniping.

The treehouse is a boy's dream come true, with a vegetable vaporizer, a giant catapult, a tank of man-eating sharks, and seemingly endless amusements. It's no wonder the characters have a hard time focusing on their work. And this is just the start: The next book in the series tacks on another 13 stories packed with bumper cars, a skating rink, and more.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the appeal of books that blend comics and narrative. How would 13-Story Treehouse work as a novel without pictures? Or as a comic?

  • Design your own over-the-top treehouse. What would you put in it?

  • Do you ever get distracted when you're trying to do your homework or another important task? What helps you stay focused?

Book details

Author:Andy Griffiths
Illustrator:Terry Denton
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Superheroes, Friendship
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Feiwel and Friends
Publication date:April 16, 2013
Number of pages:256
Publisher's recommended age(s):8 - 12
Read aloud:8 - 12
Read alone:8 - 12
Available on:Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent Written bycoskat12 February 28, 2014

Crazy fun

My son has read all the Andy Griffiths books and so have his class mates. Great for getting boys into reading.


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