The 39-Story Treehouse: The Treehouse Books, Book 3

Book review by
Darienne Stewart, Common Sense Media
The 39-Story Treehouse: The Treehouse Books, Book 3 Book Poster Image
Lively, loony tale sneaks in moral about responsibility.

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 3 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Some discussion of how authors and illustrators create books.

Positive Messages

Trying to avoid work is likely to cause even more headaches for you down the road. Arguing doesn’t lead to solutions.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Empathetic, supportive friend urges friends to stop fighting and instead work toward a solution. Boys take responsibility for cleaning up mess they inadvertently caused. 

Violence & Scariness

Cartoonish mayhem: a boxing elephant, a dinosaur biting off someone’s finger, a story about a zombie postal carrier, giant robotic hands slapping characters, fighting horses.


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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byRonit S. October 4, 2016
it was really good!
Adult Written byLebron12James3 February 29, 2020
Kid, 11 years old April 28, 2021

Third book, third speck of happiness

So yeah, it was great. Totally unsurprising for an Andy Griffiths book.
CONSUMERISM: goose eggs/10
VIOLENCE: 5/... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old March 15, 2020

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.)

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about morals in stories. Do you like stories that teach a lesson? Have you recently read other stories with a moral?

  • Do you ever find technology is more trouble than it seems worth?

  • What would you want to ask the authors about writing a book?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love humor and adventure

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Top advice and articles

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate