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Review: The 26-Story Treehouse by Andy Griffiths

The 26-Story Treehouse
By Andy Griffiths
Illustrated by Terry Denton

Feiwel & Friends (Macmillan)

ISBN: 9781250026910
Grades 2-6
Out Now

Find it at:
Schuler Books | Your Library

*Disclaimer* I’ve never started a review with a disclaimer before, but before getting into this review I should probably say that Andy Griffiths visited my school a few weeks back. That, however, is not the reason I’m excited about this book and think kids should read it. I just think it’s a pretty great book that I have to share.

Don’t discount a fantastic premise. In some books, the set-up is so good, the author can go gleefully wild painting in the rest of the picture. The Treehouse series by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton has a great premise: two friends have built the most impressive, completely crazy treehouse humankind has ever seen. It turns out to be a wonderful playground to explore. In this completely entertaining follow-up to The 13 Story Treehouse, Griffiths and Denton come through with another howler, making humor look effortless when we all know it’s not. With loads of  free-wheeling creativity this is a reluctant reader treasure.

Hi, my name is Andy.

This is my friend Terry.

We live in a tree.

All Andy wants to do is tell the story of how he and Terry met, but he keeps getting interrupted. Video calls from their publisher, shark problems, snack trips to the bizarre ice cream parlor – there’s a lot going on. But through it all, Andy is able to tell his story – and the story of how the treehouse came to be, but not without a run-in with the evil Captain Wooden Head and his crew.

This book is a classic case of “The Journey is More Important Than the Destination”. Descriptions of each floor of the treehouse alone makes for engaging reading. Speaking of, reading this book aloud to students was a joy, with a lot of laughter and awe as the next treehouse level entered the picture.

A note on going off topic. Jags, digressions – call them what you will – some worry that they distract from the overall story and that meandering needs to be “tightened up” in order to make a good book. Here’s the thing – if they’re funny you can go on as many jags as you want. If they’re not funny, then they distract. This whole book feels like one big digression and it turned out beautifully.

The loose black and white illustrations are essential. The duo of Griffiths and Denton have made a bunch of books together and their collaboration is seamless. With spot illustrations and the occasional spread, Denton’s artwork carries a huge part of the storytelling load, and adds comedic flourishes throughout.

You need this book. Kids need this book. Be sure to add it to your collection.

Review copy from the publisher

Watch The 26-Story Treehouse trailer:

Also reviewed by Waking Brain Cells

About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.