Activity 4: Book review – The 65-Storey Treehouse written by Andy Griffiths and illustrated by Terry Denton
Topic: Children’s book awards
For this activity, I wrote a book review of The 65-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton (Appendix A), and explored how the Treehouse series* has been received by Australian book awards. This book is on the notables list for the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Book of the Year Awards for 2016, in the Younger Readers category (Notables, 2016).
I reflected on the aspects of the novel that made it unique and appealing to children. I considered the guidelines, nominations, winners and judges for the following Australian book awards:
- CBCA Book of the Year Awards;
- Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIA); and
- Kids Own Australian Literature Awards (KOALA). The KOALA are a children’s choice award based on the nominations and votes by school children in NSW (“About KOALA”).
What did I learn?
This book is the fifth title in the Treehouse series. The book is humorous and silly, but in a clever and witty way. Even though this book is part of a series, it is enjoyable without having read the earlier books. Each new book continues the theme of the series and include the two main characters, however all books have their own plot and introduce a new character.
The Treehouse books have won their category in the ABIA and KOALA every year, but have been overlooked by the CBCA until this year even though the series is extremely popular with kids (Steger, 2016).
How was the activity relevant to my professional practice as a librarian for children?
Children’s librarians need to be up to date with children’s publishing and to have knowledge of award winning and nominated books because parents and children are likely to enquire about these books. Award lists are a useful source of books to recommend and to include in the collection.
Were any gaps in my knowledge revealed? How might I fill those gaps?
Before commencing this activity, I was unaware of the various awards available for children’s literature in Australia and the judging criteria for each. To fill the gaps in my knowledge I explored in detail the three awards listed above and located on the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) website a calendar of book awards (see Appendix B).
Topic: Children’s book awards
From 2011 to 2015, the Treehouse book published in each year has won its category in the both the ABIA and the KOALA. Furthermore, in 2015, the 52-Storey Treehouse also won the overall Book of the Year Award in the ABIA (“Winner of the 2015 ABIA Book of the Year”).
The CBCA awards rules specify that each title in a book series will be considered separately and “must not be reliant on other parts of the series” (“The CBCA Book of the Year Awards Policy”, 2015). Many children’s bestsellers are book series – such as Weirdo by Anh Do, The Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney, and the Treehouse series (“Five reasons kids love a good series”, 2015). Through book series, kids become attached to the characters and eagerly await the next instalment of the story (“Five reasons kids love a good series”, 2015).
The CBCA awards policy states that the awards aim to “celebrate contributions to Australian children’s literature” (“The CBCA Book of the Year Awards Policy”, 2015). These books appear to meet this criterion. As the most popular children’s books are potentially being excluded from what are considered the most prestigious book awards, I would suggest that a new category is introduced into the CBCA awards specifically for children’s book series.
*Note: The books in the Treehouse series are:
- The 13-Storey Treehouse, published in 2011
- The 26-Storey Treehouse, published in 2012
- The 39-Storey Treehouse, published in 2013
- The 52-Storey Treehouse, published in 2014
- The 65-Storey Treehouse, published in 2015
- The 78-Storey Treehouse, due August 2016
About KOALA (n.d.). Retrieved from: http://www.koalansw.org.au/about-koala/
Book industry awards (n.d.). Retrieved from: https://www.alia.org.au/ideas-campaigns-and- events-your-library/book-industry-awards
Five reasons kids love a good series. (2015). Retrieved from: http://www.betterreading.com.au/kids-ya/five-reasons-kids-love-a-good-series/
Griffiths, A. (2015). The 65-Storey Treehouse. Sydney, Australia: Pan Macmillian.
Notables 2016. (n.d.). Retrieved from: http://cbca.org.au/notables-2016
Steger, J. (2016, January7). Andy Griffths’65-Storey Treehouse tope the bestseller lists for 2015. The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved from: http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/books/andy-griffiths-65storey-treehouse- tops-the-bestseller-lists-for-2015-20160107-gm177u.html
The CBCA Book of the Year Awards Policy. (2015). Retrieved from:
The 65-Storey Treehouse. (n.d.) Retrieved from: http://www.andygriffiths.com.au/abook/?id=9781743533222
Winner of the 2015 ABIA Book of the Year. (2015). inCite. 36(6/7). 2-3.
The 65-Storey Treehouse is the fifth book in the Treehouse series written by Andy Griffiths and illustrated by Terry Denton. The book contains thirteen chapters and is written for children aged between six and twelve. In this instalment, Andy and Terry receive a visit from Inspector Bubblewrap who would like to see the building permit for the treehouse – which of course Andy and Terry don’t have. What follows is a hilarious and adventure-filled quest as Andy and Terry travel through time (in a wheely bin!) to obtain the building permit.
Their time travelling doesn’t go to plan and the time machine malfunctions a number of times taking Andy, Terry and Professor Bubblewrap 650 million years back in time. The characters travel through time to get back to when the treehouse was built and along the way meet mummies, Egyptian pharaohs, dinosaurs and get to participate in a Roman chariot race.
This book includes thirteen new levels to the treehouse including a lollipop shop run by Mary Lollipoppins, a screeching balloon orchestra, an ant farm, and an invisible level. In true Treehouse style, Griffiths and Denton engage readers with witty dialogue, crazy situations and zany illustrations. Readers are also entertained with updates from the new Treehouse News Network scrolling across each page.
The 65-Storey Treehouse has been included on the notables list for the Children Book Council of Australia’s Book Awards (CBCA) for 2016. This is the first time one of the Treehouse books has been recognised by the CBCA. The CBCA awards specify requirements for books that are part of a series. The book entered “must be able to ‘stand alone’ as a complete work in their own right. Each must have an independent structure and not be reliant on other parts of the series” (“The CBCA Book of the Year Awards Policy”, 2015).
Griffiths and Denton have a dedicated following of readers of the Treehouse series, and this book will not disappoint. It will be interesting to find out in August if the CBCA judges agree.
Link to ALIA book awards document: