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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group

The 39-Story Treehouse

Mean Machines & Mad Professors!

The Treehouse Books (Volume 3)

Andy Griffiths; illustrated by Terry Denton

Feiwel & Friends




Hi, my name is Andy.

This is my friend Terry.

We live in a tree.

Well, when I say "tree," I mean treehouse. And when I say "treehouse," I don't just mean any old treehouse-I mean a 39-story treehouse.

(It used to be a 26-story treehouse, but we've added another 13 storys.)

So what are you waiting for?

Come on up!

We've added a trampoline (without a net),

a chocolate waterfall,

an active (non-erupting) volcano,

an opera house,

a baby-dinosaur petting zoo,

an Andy and Terry's Believe It ... or Else! Museum,

a boxing elephant called The Trunkinator (he can knock you out with one punch from his mighty trunk),

a not-very-merry-go-round,

an X-ray room (where you can see your own skeleton),

a disco with a light-up dance floor and giant mirror ball,

a high-tech office with laser-erasers, semi-automatic staple guns and jet-propelled swivel chairs,

and the world's scariest rollercoaster (it's so fast, so dangerous, and so terrifying that even dead people are scared to go on it),

and, on top of all that, there's a level that is so new that Terry hasn't even finished it yet ... I can't wait to see what it is!

As well as being our home, the treehouse is also where we make books together. I write the words and Terry draws the pictures.

As you can see, we've been doing this for quite a while now.

Sure, it's easy to get distracted when you live in a 39-story treehouse ... I mean, there's just so much to do ...

but somehow we always get our book written in the end.



If you're like most of our readers, you're probably wondering how long it takes Terry and me to write a book.

Well, I guess the answer to that really depends on whether it's a long book or a short book. Long books take longer to write than short books, which don't take as long to write as long books, which, as I said, take longer to write than short books, which-oh, excuse me. Here's Terry.

"Hi, Andy," he says. "What are you doing?"

"I'm just telling the readers about how long it takes us to write a book."

"Did you tell them that it depends on whether it's a long book or a short book?" he says.

"Yes!" I say.

"And that a long book takes longer to write than a short book?"

"Yes!" I say.

"And did you tell them how a short book doesn't take as long to write as a long book?"

"YES!" I say. "I explained all that."

"Okay, okay, there's no need to shout," says Terry. "I bet there's one thing you didn't tell them, though."

"What's that?"

"That this book is hardly going to take us any time at all, no matter how long or short it ends up being."

"How do you figure that?"

"Well..." says Terry, "I-"




That's our 3D video phone.

"Hang on, Terry," I say. "I'd better answer it. It's probably Mr. Big Nose. As you know, he always calls around the beginning of chapter two to remind us about the deadline for our latest book."

I jet-chair over to the video phone and accept the call. It's Mr. Big Nose all right. Nobody else in the world has a nose that big.

"What kept you?" he says.

"Sorry," I say. "I was just explaining to the readers how long it takes us to write a book."

"Did you tell them it depends on whether it's a short book or a long book?" he shouts.

"Yes, sir."

"And how a long book takes you a longer time to write than a short book?"

"Yes!" I say.

"And that short books don't take as long as long books?"

"YES!" I say. "I explained all that."

"And did you tell them that I always call around the start of chapter two to remind you when your next book is due, which in this case is tomorrow afternoon?"

"Tomorrow afternoon?" I say. "But ... but ... but ... that's ... tomorrow ... in ... in ... in ... the afternoon!"

"Exactly!" says Mr. Big Nose. "And no later than five o'clock ... OR ELSE!"

Before I can explain how completely and utterly and totally impossible that's going to be, Terry flies over and hovers between me and the screen.

"No problem, Mr. Big Nose," he says. "It's all under control. It will be on your desk by five o'clock tomorrow without fail. See you then. Bye!"

Terry hangs up.

"Are you out of your mind?" I say.

"I don't think so," says Terry. "Why do you ask?"

"Because you just promised Mr. Big Nose that tomorrow we will deliver a book which we haven't even started yet because you've been too busy building your secret 39th level!"

"But that's what I was trying to tell you," says Terry, "before Mr. Big Nose called. What I've been doing on the 39th level is going to solve our book-writing problems forever! Follow me and I'll show you."

Terry takes off and I jet-chair after him toward the top of the tree.

We hover outside the 39th level, which is still all boarded up and covered in KEEP OUT signs.

"Well?" I say. "What is it?"

"Only the greatest invention that I-or anyone else-have ever invented!" says Terry.

He cuts a ribbon and the barriers fall away to reveal ...

the greatest invention that Terry-or anyone else-has ever invented.

"Well?" says Terry. "What do you think?"

"It's the greatest invention that you-or anyone else-have ever invented!" I say. "But what is it?"

"A Once-upon-a-time machine!" says Terry.

"A time machine?!" I say. "Cool! So we can go back in time, write our book and meet our deadline after all!"

"Well, no, not exactly," says Terry. "It will help us meet our deadline, all right, but it's not a time machine. It's a Once-upon-a-time machine. It will write-and illustrate-the entire book for us!"

"It can write a whole book?" I say. "All by itself?"

"It sure can!" says Terry. "It's got two sets of hands: one pair for typing at super speed ...

and another pair for drawing. It can draw with both hands at the same time!"

"Wow!" I say. "And we don't have to do anything?"

"No, all we have to do is program it. We just tell it what sort of story we want and turn it on. The machine does the rest!"

"That's brilliant!" I say. "How long will it take?"

"Well," says Terry, "it all depends on whether you want a long book or a short book. Long books take longer to write than short books and short books take less time to write than long books."

"What about a 344-page book?" I say.

"About eight hours," says Terry.

"Perfect!" I say. "Let's turn it on and get started then."

"Not so fast," says Terry.

"What do you mean 'not so fast'?!" I say. "Our deadline is tomorrow! We haven't got a moment to lose!"

"I know," says Terry, "but the thing is, I can't turn it on yet. The machine is so big and complicated, with so many different parts, that I used up every last on-off switch I had. I've ordered a new one, though, and I'm expecting it to be delivered any moment."

"Ah," says Terry. "That's probably it now."

Text copyright © 2013 by Backyard Stories Pty Ltd

Illustrations copyright © 2013 by Terry Denton