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 39-Story Treehouse is packed with the same kind of silly storytelling that fueled the previous two books in Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton's Treehouse Books series. The story unfolds at a leisurely pace, with lots of pauses to unspool smaller story lines. There’s some slapstick and cartoon violence: A boxing elephant wallops the villain, armed birds threaten a postman who's later kidnapped by bandits, and robotic arms attack boys. A running joke references rabbits multiplying, and one character promises to explain to the other how that happens. The publisher recommends this for ages 6 and up, but the length and content make it a better fit for a slightly older age group.
What's the story?
Andy and Terry have added 13 more stories to their wild tree house, with such delights as a baby-dinosaur petting zoo, a chocolate waterfall, and the world’s scariest roller coaster. As usual, they haven’t quite gotten around to working on their next book. Terry proudly unveils his solution: a Once-upon-a-time machine that can create their book for them. It seems like a brilliant invention ... until the machine locks them out of their tree house so it can write a superior book. The friends enlist the help of Professor Stupido, the greatest un-inventor who ever lived. But once again, their hoped-for solution becomes an even bigger problem. Professor Stupido ends up un-inventing the entire universe, and Andy and Terry need to set things right.
Is it any good?
THE 39-STORY TREEHOUSE brings back the easily distracted book-making duo of Andy and Terry on a third meandering but fast-paced adventure. Real-life author Andy Griffiths and illustrator Terry Denton keep inflating their original premise, but there’s still lots of life left in this gag. Absurdity runs rampant, and the gross touches are aimed squarely at the older elementary school ages.
But there’s reason beneath the madness: The Once-upon-a-time machine is a nod to HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey and points the way to genuine lessons about responsibility, hard work, and creativity. Smart, compassionate friend Jill also infuses the story with needed heart. (And yes, the boys are going to build another 13 stories.)
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