The 52-Story Treehouse: The Treehouse Books, Book 4

Book review by
Darienne Stewart, Common Sense Media
The 52-Story Treehouse: The Treehouse Books, Book 4 Book Poster Image
Fourth in over-the-top series still silly but spread thin.

Parents say

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Kids say

age 5+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Some sly literary references, including to classic fairy tales and The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and a plot line involving time and the Royal Observatory in Greenwich.

Positive Messages

Be cautious about presuming what other people know (or don't know).

Positive Role Models & Representations

The boys are very worried for their publisher and their friend, Jill. They go out of their way to help them, including putting themselves in peril. They collaborate to approach each obstacle with creativity and persistence.

Violence & Scariness

Cartoonish violence played for laughs. A chain saw-juggling level leads to severed fingers, feet, ears, and a nose, and a spectator is struck with a bat during a Punch and Judy show. An inflated head is popped with a pin. A character's parents are shown being squashed by giant vegetables. A warrior is depicted slicing and dicing vegetables with glee.

Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The 52-Story Treehouse continues the same giddy formula used in the previous three books in the Treehouse Books series written by Andy Griffiths and illustrated by Terry Denton. This time, they play with fairy tale archetypes and make a rather twisted case for eating your vegetables. There's a little more cartoon violence in this installment, which features a "revenge-atarian" who aggressively attacks anthropomorphic vegetables in retaliation for her parents' accidental deaths. The boys' treehouse is full of comically bad ideas, including a real snakes-and-ladders game, a wave pool with rocks, and a chain saw-juggling level. The publisher recommends this for age 6 and up, but the length and content make it a better fit for a slightly older age group.

User Reviews

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  • Kids say

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Kid, 8 years old April 5, 2017

I really loved it

I feel that you should read this book because there are two main characters - Andy and Terry who live in a 52-story treehouse (It used to be a 39-story treehous... Continue reading

What's the story?

Andy and Terry always wait until the very last minute to deliver their next book to their publisher, Mr. Big Nose. They're having so much fun in their newly expanded treehouse that they almost don't notice that Mr. Big Nose hasn't called to remind them of their looming deadline. They set off to investigate and find Mr. Big Nose is missing and their best clue is a terrified caterpillar. They take the caterpillar to their friend Jill, who can talk with animals, but Jill and all the creatures at her house are in an enchanted sleep. Their quest to find a suitable prince to wake her leads them to Mr. Big Nose and an epic encounter with some very unpleasant vegetables.

Is it any good?

The Treehouse Books remains a delightful series for reluctant readers, even though the latest 13-story addition by the creative duo of Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton feels like a bit of a stretch. The manic humor continues apace in THE 52-STORY TREEHOUSE, which seems like the best endless summer vacation ever.

Earlier installments have snuck in lessons on responsibility and creativity. This time around, however, the creators aim low with a vapid plot about a vegetable kingdom. Happily, the journey is still a hoot, full of running gags, repeating themes, and Denton's detailed, giggly illustrations. A good choice for fans, but newcomers to the series should start with the first 13 stories.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the appeal of series like this. Do you prefer new additions to a series to feel familiar or to take the story in new directions?

  • Why do you think there's so much violence? Would it be as funny if it was scaled back? Or is being so over the top what makes it funny?

  •  Do you think this story would work as an animated cartoon?

Book details

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