A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Discusses key elements of autobiography and values originality.
Avoid jumping to conclusions, as incorrect assumptions can cause great damage. Open communication is often the best way to resolve disagreement. It can be hard to be a good friend when one is enjoying success and the other isn't. Anger and acting out can be signs of a deeper issue like fear or sadness.
Positive Role Models
Andy apologizes for unfairly accusing Terry and treating him poorly, and he worries when a fight goes too far and his friend appears seriously hurt. Terry is warm and understanding when he reconciles with Andy. He doesn't apologize for being unkind, and while Jill helps clarify a misunderstanding, she doesn't apologize for taking something without permission. Jill is especially compassionate, traveling the universe to rescue animals.
Violence & Scariness
Lots of cartoonish violence and perilous scenarios played for laughs: man-eating sharks, electrocution, child with pants on fire, a fall from a great height, a creature shot with a stray arrow, a deck collapse, dangerous traps, a fantastical brawl in space in which boys shove each other's face into the sun and one slices the other into pieces. Adults yell at boys repeatedly.
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Juvenile name-calling like "stupid dumb dum-dum."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The 78-Story Treehouse is the sixth book in the over-the-top comic Treehouse series about creative friends Andy and Terry and their wild adventures in a dangerously fun, ever-growing tree house. This time, the boys are making a movie instead of a book, and the project strains their friendship: Terry lets success go to his head, and Andy wallows in his hurt feelings and acts like a bad sport. The boys' tree house is packed with wild activities like three areas full of clones, a stadium for playing all ball sports at once, and a tank of man-eating sharks. The friction between the boys escalates into a ridiculous court case and then a physical fight in space where the boys kick, spit at, smash, and shove each other. Beneath the zany antics are messages about creativity, friendship, and empathy. The publisher recommends this series for ages 6 and older, but we recommend it for ages 8 and up do to the comic violence and length.
Is It Any Good?
Andy and Terry's friendship anchors their wild adventures in the sprawling, fun Treehouse Books, but this time friction over a movie deal -- and expected fame and fortune -- nearly ruins everything. Author Andy Griffiths and illustrator Terry Denton pile on the lunacy with every 13-story addition, and The 78-Story Treehouse is no exception. Spy cows trying to steal the movie lurk on every page, and the boys reach their breaking point over a missing bag of chips.
Andy's hurt feelings ring true: He's jealous, sure, but really he's worried Terry is going on to grander adventures and will leave him behind. The resolution of their feud is a little too easy, but then this is the kind of book where a key plot point involves a turbo tortoise ... probably best not to overthink it, and just enjoy the wild ride.
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.