The 26-Story Treehouse

Clever sequel is goofy, gross, giddy -- and sweet.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Andy and Terry turn their story into a new book for their publisher; parents might want to encourage kids to mine real-life experiences for short-story material.


Positive messages

Andy, Terry, and Jill tease each other but are supportive and helpful. Jill is quick to pitch in during a crisis. The how-we-met story is built on kindness as plot points: Andy rescued Terry, Jill rescued animals, and they all helped rescue each other from the pirates. When they're again beset by pirates, they work together to defeat them.

Positive role models

The boys work together in all areas: at work (making a book), at play (in the tree house), and in emergencies (getting attacked by pirates). Their neighbor, Jill, has an affinity for animals and rushes over to help tend to sick sharks. The three tell how they became friends by helping each other. The adults are comic figures: Terry's parents are well intentioned but overly protective. Andy's parents are clearly loving but -- from Andy's perspective -- terribly unreasonable to ask him to follow rules such as wearing a coat when it's cold. Jill's wealthy parents refuse to let her have a pet and are so busy socializing they don't notice when she's lost.

Violence & scariness

A boy leaps from a skyscraper to escape a fire. A girl watches a fish pursue her parents' boat, and it's implied that he eats it. A villainous pirate enslaves his captives. Several pirates are beheaded, and prisoners are marched off a plank. A band of pirates threatens the friends.

Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The 26-Story Treehouse -- the sequel to The 13-Story Treehouse -- is a silly romp with gross-out jokes, over-the-top adventure, and giddy mayhem. There's considerable cartoon-style violence, including pirate attacks and a smelly fish that can devour entire ships, but through it all is a warm friendship among the three main characters. One boy is a runaway, and the other two children were dramatically separated from their parents, but kids will giggle at the reasons.

What's the story?

Friends Andy and Terry have added another 13 stories to their crazy tree house, made from salvaged pirate ship parts: Now there's an antigravity chamber, a mud-fighting arena, an Automatic Tattoo Machine, and more. And they're working on a new book, the story of how they came to live in their tree house. It's a wild adventure story filled with wooden-headed pirates, a stinky fish, inflatable underpants, and flying cats.

Is it any good?


THE 26-STORY TREEHOUSE, the loony sequel to The 13-Story Treehouse, has more everything: 13 more stories, 100 more pages, and more charm. It's also more clever, with metafiction, a story within a story, and a frame story that unspool a long tale with asides to treat sharks sickened by eating underpants, to fend off pirates, and to devour a 78-scoop ice cream cone. 

It's a good choice for kids reluctant to transition to chapter books. Energetic black-and-white illustrations reward close attention, and extended illustrated gags -- a character's fall from a skyscraper is illustrated over nine pages, for example, and several pages picture a chase through a maze -- keep the pages flipping swiftly. And they aren't done building: Up next, The 39-Story Treehouse.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the layered story and the literary techniques used (such as metafiction and frame stories). What other books do you enjoy that use these techniques?


  • How does this compare with other illustrated stories, such as the Big Nate series?


  • Does this story -- with beheaded pirates and falls from great heights -- seem as violent as action movies?


Book details

Author:Andy Griffiths
Illustrator:Terry Denton
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Adventures, Friendship
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Feiwel and Friends
Publication date:April 1, 2014
Number of pages:352
Publisher's recommended age(s):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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