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The Shrinking of Treehorn Paperback – October 1, 1992

4.8 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Treehorn is clearly shrinking, and his parents aren't the least bit interested. His mother is obsessed with whether or not her cake will rise. His father, at one point addressing a son who can barely see over the table, states blindly, "Nobody shrinks." Treehorn doesn't seem all that bothered that his clothes are hanging over his extremities; he just feels someone should know. But the adults he tries to notify brush off his claim as either a ploy for attention or downright bad behavior.

Treehorn's parents, his teacher, and his principal respond (or fail to respond) to his drastically diminishing stature in ways that will ring true to any kid who has tried to convince adults of the existence of fairies, the Loch Ness Monster, or things that go bump in the night. Edward Gorey's stark, intricately patterned black-and-white drawings are simultaneously quaint and creepy, setting the perfect stage for Treehorn's tale--a story for any child who has ever felt ignored by grown-ups (in other words, a story for all). (Ages 4 to 8) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Edward Gorey was born in chicago and received his B.A. at Harvard. He says that his formal art training has been "negligible." He is the author and artist of books for both children and adults. He lives in New York City.

Mrs. Heide is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She began writing children's books in 1967 and has published over a dozen of them. She lives in Kenosha, Wisconsin with her husband and five children. She is the mother of authors Judith Heide Gilliland and Roxanne Heide Pierce.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 4
  • Lexile Measure: 480L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Holiday House; Reprint edition (October 1, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0823409759
  • ISBN-13: 978-0823409754
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 0.2 x 6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #476,022 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"The Shrinking of Treehorn" is a children's book that appeals to adults as much as children. It represents a somewhat magical story of the kindergarten set. Grown-ups see it as a story about adults so involved in getting through their days that they don't realize that Treehorn is truly shrinking.

The scene in which Treehorn is sent to the principal's office is one of the funniest views of schools that exists.
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Format: Hardcover
This is really a top-ranked children's book. It is very cleverly written. It shows nicely and humorously how people -even when they live close together- can be completely blind to each other. I have noticed that not only children can readily identify with the drawings and the story, but also that adults like it very much. Indeed, I have great pleasure in gifting it to my best friends, who all like it, without exception. The text and the drawings are perfect in their own right and do perfectly match each other. The drawings are most funny and to the point. Highly recommended!
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Format: Paperback
This was one of my favorite books as a child, and nearly 20 years later, it's still high on my list. When I first read it, I was amazed because it was completely different from anything else I had ever been given to read. I think all kids have endured the problem of trying to get adults to listen to them and take them seriously, and Treehorn's somewhat absurd quest to get someone to notice his shrinking is easy to identify with. The book may have no "moral", but so what? Kids need books that enchant and delight them--if you only give them didactic and "proper" tales, reading becomes a boring chore. If you weren't fortunate enough to read this as a child, make up for lost time now.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Edward Gorey is one of my favorite illustrators, and he did a great time with this book. Every child and every adult who remembers being a child will identify with Treehorn as he tries unsuccessfully to communicate his problem to his family, teacher, principal, and others.
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Format: Paperback
This is a book I loved as a child, because it was so bizarre and interesting and mysterious! I don't think the book is really meant to have a message---it's meant more just to be a strange and memorable tale! I love all the little details about Treehorn we find out---that he has 56 different favorite TV shows, what his cereal send-away collection consists of, etc! Even my 2 year old was enchanted by the pictures---he called a page with several odd dogs on it "monsters" and said "I like those scary monster dogs!" My 5 year old loved how the bus driver thought Treehorn was Treehorn's younger brother, also called Treehorn! Read it because it's fun and great to look at!
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Format: Paperback
The big point here is about adult distractability. Treehorn is shrinking and his parents and teachers are mostly concerned with what this might mean to them, after they are forced to notice his condition. The subtlety of this may not register with little kids but they'll love the fun idea of a kid shrinking and having to cope and the drawings by Gorey are funny and wonderful. (If you are familiar with the opening titles on the PBS series Mystery you know Gorey). Intelligent little kids will love this book, which is a little more complex than things aimed at them these days. Intelligent adults will love reading it them. (The speech by the smarmy principal is classic.) Get this book and keep it. If you've read this review this far you are the right audience for it.
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Format: Paperback
Treehorn's parents are so wrapped up in their own problems that they don't notice Treehorn is shrinking, Neither do any of the other adults. This speaks to the sad fact that many kids feel they are invisible to grown-ups. However, the book is lighthearted and fun, with terrific illustrations. One you will remember for a long time.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
We were thrilled to find this childhood book. My grown siblings and I had fond memories of reading it with my dad and bought it for him for Christmas. It is a hard to find book and we were surpised to find it in a new hardcover. Very intriguing pictures and story about poor Treehorn who myseriously begins shrinking. Our children range in age 1 to 13. The books is a lenghty picture book and seemed best suited for prek-2nd grade, although our 4th graders seemed to understand its humor best.
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