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 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.
- Parents say
- Kids say
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?
- Author: Andy Griffiths
- Illustrator: Terry Denton
- Genre: Humor
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Fairy Tales, Friendship
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
- Publication date: April 5, 2016
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 6 - 10
- Number of pages: 336
- Available on: Paperback, Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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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.