A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What 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.
- Parents say
- Kids say
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.
Talk to your kids 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?
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