Reviewed by Antonella Townsend
This zany book is so much fun, I was smiling from the beginning and laughing out loud from the middle, as were my little companion reviewers. The text is written by Andy and illustrated by Terry’s hilarious cartoon drawings. On the bottom of every page is a joke. This was a great hit with this cohort of reviewers.
How did the idiot get hurt raking leaves? He fell out of the tree.
How do bees get to school in the morning? On the school buzz.
What breaks every time you name it? Silence.
The problem that has to be solved is that Andy has a toothache and, despite Terry’s encouragement, he just cannot settle down to writing. Their publisher, Mr. Big Nose, is in a state of fury because they are missing their deadline. So, it’s obvious really, a joke writing pen must be purchased. And, of course, they have added another 13 levels to their ever-expanding Treehouse. To name a few: the stupid hat level, the money/honey making machine, the burp bank, the fridge throwing level, and the deep thought room. Readers are invited to climb up through the levels to view the new construction by a gleeful Terry, while Andy moans and rocks in pain – the toothache is getting worse.
Terry is a little bit vague; in fact he has the attention span of a gnat. Andy is the sensible one but has little luck in getting Terry to concentrate, although he is contending with terrible pain, so not at his best. They have their sensible neighbour Jill to help them locate the joke-writing pen. The three set off through the new levels in the Treehouse to retrieve some money from the money/honey bank. It is a bit hit and miss as to whether money or honey is withdrawn, this results in a messy scene. The problem is the $2 shop selling the joke-writing pen has sold the last one, so they need to go up a few levels to the $2,000,000 shop. This is where the money/honey problem arises, since the difference between $2 and $2,000,000 adds up to heaps. Money must be withdrawn from the bank but avoiding the honey lever is hard when Terry is in charge. A maths lesson, when you’re not having a maths lesson, weaves subtly through the story. As does how to deal with Mr. Big Nose publisher, and all the steps to publishing a book, not to mention the nightmare of time management. The best lesson, perhaps, is how to let imagination take the helm, sit back and enjoy the fun of a holiday to the absurd.
This brilliant series began with The 13-Storey Treehouse, 13 new levels were added with each book, so here we are, seven books later and The 104-Storey Treehouse. And, of course, it is a publishing bonanza. The 13-Storey Treehouse won the Book of the Year for Older Children at the Australian Book Industry Awards in 2012. The 26-Storey Treehouse, The 39-Storey Treehouse, The 52-Storey Treehouse and The 65-Storey Treehouse have all won ABIA Awards. The 52-Storey Treehouse won the overall ABIA Book of the Year in 2015. The 65-Storey Treehouse and The 78-Storey Treehouse have been the fastest selling Australian books ever. There have also been stage shows, The 91-Storey Treehouse, published in 2017, is currently in production and will be showing in early 2019.
It takes awhile to read this book, as children like to take their time and enjoy Terry’s picture stories. This will give parents time to cast their collective minds back to the days of Monty Python and remember how the relief of the ridiculous gave them a break from a troubled world. Well, the talented Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton now give children this opportunity with this clever series and its latest edition The 104-Storey Treehouse.
Illustrated by Terry Denton
Pan Macmillan Australia
Paperback – ISBN: 9781760554170
$14.99; pp 368