Time travel es­capade proves a fan­tas­tic ride

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Books -

Stephen Romei The 65-Storey Tree­house By Andy Grif­fiths, il­lus­trated by Terry Denton Pan Macmil­lan, 378pp, $12.99

Andy Grif­fiths and Terry Denton don’t need a rave re­view to help them sell books but they are go­ing to get one any­way, as be­fits the strange but fair logic of their fic­tional world.

The 65-Storey Tree­house, the latest in­stal­ment of the an­nual se­ries that started with 13 lev­els in 2011, is one of the best yet, a time-trav­el­ling es­capade that of­fers fun twists on his­tor­i­cal events. There are mem­o­rable new char­ac­ters, in­vented and real (HG Wells has a hi­lar­i­ous cameo). This ver­dict has been sanc- tioned by my 10-year-old ad­viser and, al­most as im­por­tantly, young read­ers Aus­tralia-wide, with the book break­ing sales records.

We don’t talk about this much when we talk about books, but one of the nu­mer­ous at­trac­tions of The 65-Storey Tree­house, which clocks in at 378 pages, is its out­stand­ing value for money. We read it nightly over a week, and I know it will be reread and reread. It’s dif­fi­cult to think of how you could bet­ter spend $13.

We open with the tra­di­tional tour of the new ad­di­tions to Andy and Terry’s tree­house. There’s a birth­day room, where it’s al­ways your birth­day, and an un- birth­day room, where the longer you stay, the younger you get. No one will be sur­prised to find Terry in nap­pies. There’s a cloning ma­chine, a room full of ex­plod­ing eye­balls (about time!), a screech­ing bal- loon or­ches­tra, an ant farm, a quick­sand pit and, our favourite, an owl house with three wise owls who would not be out of place in fed­eral par­lia­ment. (“We don’t al­ways know what they mean, but that’s be­cause they’re so wise.’’) .

The main ac­tion cen­tres on the fact the boys dis­cover they don’t have a build­ing per­mit for the tree­house. En­ter the phleg­matic In­spec­tor Bub­blewrap, who or­ders the “im­me­di­ate de­struc­tion of this un­safe con­struc­tion”. Andy and Terry de­cide to use a wheelie bin time ma­chine (they have one handy) to go back a few years and ob­tain the per­mit. In­spec­tor B joins them. But a tem­per­a­men­tal chronome­ter sees the trio whisked to places un­ex­pected, in the past and in the fu­ture. It’s a fan­tas­tic ride.

A par­lia­ment of owls, more or less

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.