A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
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.
Be cautious about presuming what other people know (or don't know).
Positive Role Models
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.
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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.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.