Posts Tagged ‘The 78-Storey Treehouse’

Lovereading4kids Q & A with Andy Griffiths

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

Andy Griffiths

Andy Griffiths is the author of the hilarious, incredibly popular and seemingly unstoppable large Treehouse books. We tracked him down to ask him a few questions. Find out more below.

 

What were you like at school?
I really enjoyed school—had a lot of fun with my friends and my teachers often commented that I had a good sense of humour. When I was in Grade 4 I found an old typewriter at a junk shop and taught myself to touch type. I wrote and printed a magazine which I used to sell to the kids in my year level.

 

Were you good at English?
Yes, I loved reading and had a natural interest in language—particularly playing around with words and ideas for comic effect.

 

Which writer inspires you the most?
Well, I’ve always loved Lewis Carroll and his Wonderland/Looking Glass books. The combination of philosophy, wordplay and sheer nonsense has always amused, excited and inspired me.

 

So, tell us a little about the Treehouse series and what inspired you to create it?
I’ve been lucky enough to work with Terry, the illustrator, for twenty years now and together we love entertaining each other and seeing just how far we can push our humour. The treehouse series grew out of this process of constant experimentation and play. And, I guess, my love of Enid Blyton’s ‘Faraway Tree’ books were probably responsible for the idea of a magical tree filled with unpredictable things and people.

 

Give us an insight into the latest book in the series, ‘The 78-Storey Treehouse’? 
It’s all about a Hollywood director coming to the treehouse and attempting to make a blockbuster movie. Needless to say it all goes horribly wrong in an horribly entertaining way. Oh, and there’s spy cows. A spy cow on every page in fact.

 

How do you and Illustrator Terry Denton make the words and illustrations come together so perfectly? 
It starts by me throwing Terry a few ideas and then him responding by drawing some pictures of those ideas which helps me to develop the ideas further and then his drawings become more detailed and include elements I hadn’t considered so I have to change and develop the story accordingly and so on and so on. The process takes a whole year for each book and Jill, my wife, editor and co-writer is there helping us to sort it out at every step of the way.

 

What made you want to choose this theme for the story?
Everybody is always asking us if the treehouse books are going to become a movie but, given the dreamlike structure of the treehouse and everything that happens there, we’re not so sure it would be even possible to make a movie and we’re not in any hurry. Our ambivalence about the treehouse series and movies is reflected in the plot.

 

What are you working on at the minute?
The 91-Storey Treehouse: Andy and Terry have to babysit Mr and Mrs Big Nose’s grandchildren. What could possibly go wrong (apart from everything?!)

 

How much research do you do?
I am constantly reading books, watching movies and keeping my eyes open for potential levels and story ideas.

 

Do you write full-time or part-time?
Full time.

 

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
I like to begin each day with an hour of reading, an hour of exercise and then a good breakfast. I generally aim for around 5-6 hours of writing most days, with the evenings free to just mess around and read some more.

 

Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?
No, sometimes it comes fast and other times painstakingly slow. I generally know whether I’m on track to deliver the manuscript on time, and if not, I need to work harder until I’m back on schedule.

 

Where do your ideas come from?
Absolutely everywhere. But reading extensively is one of the best ways to encounter a never-ending kaleidoscope of ideas.

 

What is the hardest thing about writing?
Rewriting it for as many times as it takes until it’s as clear and as funny as possible. The rewriting process never stops and occasionally it can become quite exhausting. But it’s one of the most important parts of the process.

 

What is the easiest thing about writing?
Sitting around pitching silly ideas to Terry and Jill. Occasionally one of the ideas is so outlandish that it sparks a whole new level, character or plot.

 

Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?
I read a wide variety of both fiction and non-fiction for at least two hours every day. My all time favourite authors are Lewis Carroll, Dr Seuss, Enid Blyton, Franz Kafka and JD Salinger.

 

What book/s are you reading at present?
I’m reading ‘As I lay Dying’ by William Faulkner and revisiting some of the short stories of the southern gothic writer, Flannery O Connor.

 

What is your favourite book and why?
As per question 3: Well, I’ve always loved Lewis Carroll and his Wonderland/Looking Glass books. The combination of philosophy, wordplay and sheer nonsense has always amused, excited and inspired me.

 

Do you have a favourite genre?
Comedy!

 

What is your favourite quote?
‘A man’s got to know his limitations’ – Clint Eastwood in one of his ‘Dirty Harry’ movies.

 

What is your favourite film and why?
Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure. A fantasy wonderland of complete nonsense starring one of the funniest comedic characters ever created.

 

Where can you see yourself in 5 years time?
At this rate—adding 13 storeys to our treehouse each year—I’ll probably be working on the 156 Storey Treehouse.

 

What advice would you give to your younger self?
Stay away from man-eating sharks.

 

Do you have a favourite positive saying?
When the chips are down, go eat some chips (Read the 78-Storey Treehouse and you’ll understand.)

 

Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
Actually, I met a lot of famous dead people when I went time travelling in the wheelie bin with Terry in the 65-Storey Treehouse.

 

If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Because it’s perfect.

 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Research the type of books you love reading and direct your efforts towards learning how to writer your own versions. That way you’ll be gaining a huge amount of enjoyment and satisfaction. whether they get published or not,

 

Where do you see publishing going in the future?
Nowhere. Books still offer a particularly personal pleasure for the reader that movies and computer games—whatever their other merits—just can’t match.

 

How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Reading the books is the best way. And if that’s not enough you can visit www.andygriffiths.com.au

Most popular books by age range 8 – 15 January 2017

Monday, January 16th, 2017

Books for Babies and Toddlers

1
This is the Kiss This is the Kiss
Claire Harcup
A big bear and a little bear are getting ready for bedtime – a process with lots of lovely stages. They wave goodbye to their snowman, hold hands for the walk home, smile, have a last play, tickle and giggle, …
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2
Picken Mix and Match the Farm Animals! Picken Mix and Match the Farm Animals!
Mary Murphy
January 2017 Book of the Month  Mix and match the split pages of this ingenious board book to make your own amazing farmyard creatures! So whether it’s a Picken or a caglet or a chicken or a piglet babies and …
Download free opening extract
3
I'll Love You Always I’ll Love You Always
Mark Sperring
The passage of time and the everlasting nature of a parent’s love for a child are intertwined in this charming picture book. Big Mouse answers Little Mouse’s question ‘how long will you love me?’ using the natural world to demonstrate …
Download free opening extract

Featured Books for Young Adults

1
The One Memory of Flora Banks The One Memory of Flora Banks
Emily Barr
January 2017 MEGA Debut of the Month |  In a nutshell: the unforgettable story of a girl with no memory
Can there ever have been a heroine like Flora Banks? She’s 17 when the book opens, but an accident aged 10 …
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2
A Tragic Kind of Wonderful A Tragic Kind of Wonderful
Eric Lindstrom
January 2017 Book of the Month  |  In a Nutshell: Coping with bipolar disorder | Finding the courage to shed secrets  |   Intense, insightful exploration of how it feels to live with bipolar disorder, and finding the strength to reveal …
Download free opening extract
3
Bone Gap Bone Gap
Laura Ruby
January 2017 Book of the Month | Winner of the 2016 Michael L. Printz Award | In a Nutshell:  Unconventional magic realist thriller |  A entrancingly unique novel about a boy’s search for a young woman who’s disappeared from their eccentric …
Download free opening extract

Featured Books for 3+ readers

1
Captain McGrew Wants You for His Crew! Captain McGrew Wants You for His Crew!
Mark Sperring
January 2017 Book of the Month   In suitably jolly rhyme Ed Eaves describes just what joining Captain McGrew’s pirate crew entails, from the reasonably easy – climbing the rigging, shouting ‘Land Ahoy!’ – to the downright difficult – digging up …
Download free opening extract
2
Also an Octopus Also an Octopus
Maggie Tokuda-Hall
January 2017 Book of the Month An octopus playing a ukulele is just the start of this witty and unlikely story that will inspire imagination. While having a character is a good start for a story what happens next is …
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3
Odd Socks Odd Socks
Michelle Robinson
Everyone will enjoy this epic tale of true love and steadfastness, no less heroic or inspiring for starring a pair of woolly socks! Sosh and Suki are made for one another and their life on a fresh pair of feet …
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Featured Books for 5+ readers

1
Revolting Rhymes Revolting Rhymes
Roald Dahl
Roald Dahl takes on the likes of Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Goldilocks and The Three Little Pigs and brings us a brilliant collection of comic and often gory versions of popular fairy tales.  Dahl’s Gobblefunk is brought to life …
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2
Trouble Next Door Trouble Next Door
Chris Higgins
In a nutshell: new house, new friend, new adventures |    There’s something fascinating about naughty children, and readers will be captivated by Magda, the co-star of Chris Higgins’s new book. Bella and her family are just moving into a new …
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3
Zoo Boy and the Jewel Thieves Zoo Boy and the Jewel Thieves
Sophie Thompson
In a nutshell: charming story of boy who can talk and joke with the animals | Lucky Vince – not only is his dad a zoo keeper but Vince has inherited the family trait and can talk to the animals. …
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Featured Books for 7+ readers

1
Worst Ever School Trip Worst Ever School Trip
Barry Hutchison
January 2017 Book of the Month |  In a nutshell: In all honesty, a book to have readers laughing aloud |    Poor Beaky Malone: once an accomplished fibber, he’s now condemned to be completely, even brutally honest at all times thanks …
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2
Nancy Parker's Spooky Speculations Nancy Parker’s Spooky Speculations
Julia Lee
In a nutshell: a diary of detection from our favourite 1920s housemaid  |  With the current craze for historical mysteries and clever girl detectives, readers will be delighted to make the acquaintance of Nancy Parker, bright young maid and experienced …
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3
Who Stole the Hamster? Who Stole the Hamster?
N. Griffin
In a nutshell: a clever bit of detection in the classroom |    This satisfying, entertaining classroom crime caper thoroughly respects its young readers’ intelligence. Smashie and Dontel are smart as they come and when the school hamster disappears from his …
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Featured Books for 9+ readers

1
What Not to Do If You Turn Invisible What Not to Do If You Turn Invisible
Ross Welford
January 2017 Book of the Month  |  In a nutshell: invisible girl finds herself in the spotlight |   Ross Welford is making a habit of putting his characters in unusual situations: the star of his prize-shortlisted debut went time travelling, …
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2
Jake Atlas and the Tomb of the Emerald Snake Jake Atlas and the Tomb of the Emerald Snake
Rob Lloyd Jones
In a nutshell: two kids on a death-defying treasure hunt through Egypt’s ancient monuments.   Adventure stories don’t come more action-packed than the exploits of Jake Atlas. As the book opens, the Atlas family are about to fly off to Egypt …
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3
The 78-Storey Treehouse The 78-Storey Treehouse
Andy Griffiths
In a nutshell: surreal, kid-pleasing comic adventures set in an ever-growing treehouse |   Andy and Terry’s treehouse keeps growing, to the delight of its army of devoted readers. It’s now 78 storeys high (new additions include an ALL-BALL sports stadium …
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Featured Books for 11+ readers

1
The Goldfish Boy The Goldfish Boy
Lisa Thompson
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month January 2017   A gripping debut middle-grade story skilfully told by debut novelist Lisa Thompson. Trapped indoors by his obsessive fears of germs and much else Matthew watches his neighbours’ lives and details their …
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2
Welcome to Nowhere Welcome to Nowhere
Elizabeth Laird
In a nutshell: the lives of a Syrian family brought vividly and sympathetically to life for young readers |   This is an excellent book for young people who want to know what is happening in Syria and why – serious, …
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3
The Midnight Gang The Midnight Gang
David Walliams
One of our Books of the Year 2016 | November 2016 Book of the Month  | In a nutshell: comedy capers on the NHS from everyone’s favourite storyteller!
The spirit of Roald Dahl lives on in David Walliams, and Dahl’s influence …
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Featured Books for 13+ readers

1
The Monstrous Child The Monstrous Child
Francesca Simon
January 2017 Book of the Month | Shortlisted for the Costa Book Awards, Children’s Book category, 2016 – May 2016 Book of the Month Francesca Simon has chosen a singular heroine for her first novel for teenagers. Hel is Queen of …
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2
The Bombs That Brought Us Together The Bombs That Brought Us Together
Brian Conaghan
Winner of the Costa Book Awards, Children’s Book category, 2016     Charlie’s life should be pretty miserable: he lives in Little Town, where everyone spies on everyone else, and the population is caught between their oppressive rulers and violent criminals who …
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3
Wing Jones Wing Jones
Katherine Webber
January 2017 Debut of the Month |  In a Nutshell:  Losing your way  | Running for your life  | Finding your feet   | 12+   A beautifully bittersweet debut in which a teenage girl discovers a latent talent that shines light on the …
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