The 65-Story Treehouse: The Treehouse Books, Book 5

Book review by
Darienne Stewart, Common Sense Media
The 65-Story Treehouse: The Treehouse Books, Book 5 Book Poster Image
More mayhem in thrill-seeking, time-traveling sequel.

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Kids say

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational value

Story incorporates H.G. Wells and The Time Machine. References to Ben-Hur and several notable artists. Depicts early mammals and works in comic sequence based on evolution.

Positive messages

Being overly cautious risks cutting yourself off from new experiences. Being open-minded and cooperative can lead to workable solutions.

Positive role models & representations

Inspector Bubblewrap has a rigid mindset initially but, through new experiences, learns to be more flexible in his thinking. Andy and Terry try to make things work with the inspector instead of dodging their responsibilities. They're deeply concerned about meeting their deadline commitment, though they don't make a sincere effort to do the work. Jill helps smooth over problems with the ants.

Violence & scariness

Lots of comic violence: Characters get blown up, shot with arrows, cut in half, set on fire, and threatened by oversize creatures. The treehouse includes over-the-top dangers such as a chainsaw juggling, exploding eyeballs, a shark pit, and a dangerous ramp.

Language

Occasional rude language includes "idiot," "poop," and "butt."

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The 65-Story Treehouse -- the fifth installment in Andy Griffiths' and Terry Denton's cheerfully loony Treehouse Books -- continues to mine the same formula that's served the series well so far. This time, hero-authors Andy and Terry revel in taking risks: To Terry, no danger means no fun. The expanded treehouse offers higher levels of crude, cartoon violence with characters getting blown up and cut in half, fighting, and choking, and a succession of perilous scenes. Good friendships and an adult who learns a lesson about letting loose and having fun add some heart. Although the publisher suggests this series for ages 6 and older, we recommend it for ages 8 and up given the length and content.

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What's the story?

In THE 65-STORY TREEHOUSE, Terry and Andy are enjoying the newest 13 floors they've added to their sprawling home so much that, once again, they've forgotten to write their next book before the deadline. But the boys are also dealing with Inspector Bubblewrap, who's horrified to learn they have no permit for their treehouse and has ordered a wrecking crew to raze it. Andy and Terry hop into a waste-bin time machine to try to go get their permit. But the malfunctioning machine sends them bouncing through history, where they encounter perilous creatures -- including ancestral versions of themselves, even as pond scum. Inspector Bubblewrap, meanwhile, starts to realize that playing it safe all the time means missing out on adventure.

Is it any good?

As Andy Griffiths' and Terry Denton's fanciful treehouse grows by another 13 floors, their ridiculous adventures continue at a frenetic pace but the storytelling gets stretched a little thin. Fans are sure to giggle through The 65-Story Treehouse, even though this addition to the popular series doesn't break any new ground.

This time, the boys travel backward and forward through time à la Bill and Ted -- but in a waste bin rather than a phone booth. There's even more repetition than usual, from gags about ants acting in unison to create a pounding fist, a stomping foot, and even an illustrated book to running into ancestral versions of themselves each time they skip through time. Much of the book's energy comes from Denton's squiggly line drawings -- he revels in showing characters on fire, bouncing off brick walls, getting chomped by sharks, and hurtling through the air.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how The 65-Story Treehouse extends the formula of the series. Do you like knowing what to expect in each book?

  • Do you like taking risks?

  • Do you think any of the violence is gross or too much? How is seeing a character hurt or maimed in these illustrations different from seeing the same in a movie or video game?

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