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The Shrinking of Treehorn (The Adventures of Treehorn #1)

4.17  ·  Rating Details ·  709 Ratings  ·  66 Reviews
Poor Treehorn's problem is politely ignored by his parents and barely tolerated by his teachers. An ALA Notable Book.
Hardcover, 64 pages
Published 1971 by Holiday House
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Thursday's Child by Noel StreatfeildJane-Emily by Patricia ClappA Stitch In Time by Penelope LivelyFog Magic by Julia L. SauerMarianne Dreams by Catherine Storr
Obscure Children's Vintage Gems
44th out of 362 books — 97 voters
I, Robot by Isaac AsimovThe Hundred Dresses by Eleanor EstesThe Shrinking of Treehorn by Florence Parry HeideCaddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie BrinkLassie Come-Home by Eric Knight
Books on Open Library
3rd out of 70 books — 7 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Oct 27, 2014 Laura rated it it was amazing

Treehorn, Treehorn, Treehorn. This little guy charmed me years ago! So much so that I try to drop by for a visit every year.

Young Treehorn is shrinking. In his matter of fact, straight to the point way—Treehorn breaks his shrinking news again and again to the adults around him. But they don’t seem concerned for him at all.

”If you’re Treehorn, why are you so small?” asked the teacher.

“Because I’m shrinking,” said Treehorn. “I’m getting smaller.”

“Well, I’ll let it go for today,” said his teacher.
Whoever thought of pairing up Florence Parry Heide with Edward Gorey was brilliant. You have her deadpan delivery and the nonchalance of Gorey's characters. Perfect. I don't know if anyone else could've done this story justice.  photo 2C390A66-BFD3-4132-ACD7-7C4389389352_zpsex3b9yte.jpgRemember watching tv like this!
Aug 29, 2015 Teresinha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: česky, moje
Trivoj je úžasný a rozkošný a miloučký! Přečtěte si ho :)
Sarah Sammis
Mar 02, 2010 Sarah Sammis rated it really liked it
Shelves: borrowed
My local library is full of surprises in the form of funky, old books. In the children's section I saw a title that instantly struck my fancy: The Shrinking of Treehorn by Florence Parry Heide. When I pulled the book off the shelf and saw the distinctive Edward Gorey illustration, I knew I had to read it.

Literally the book is about Treehorn who one days for no apparent reason begins to shrink. He can't get any adult to listen to him when he says he's shrinking. His parents get annoyed that he ca
Sep 13, 2008 Amy rated it really liked it
Quirky fantasy tale about a boy who shrinks - when the adults around him notice, they all react in very unhelpful, self-absorbed ways.
Treehorn finally solves the problem himself - by finishing the board game he'd ordered from a cereal box top!

Maybe I'm eating the wrong kind of cereal, but it seems like I had more opportunities to get free prizes or order things when I was a least, from my cereal boxes.

I picked this story up because of the Edward Gorey drawings.
originally read in 1976 or so

It took me years to find it again, but when I did, it was mostly as I remembered. Treehorn is beautifully illustrated by Gorey, who somehow gets the indifference of Treehorn's parents just right.
May 05, 2016 Brigid rated it it was amazing
I picked this up at a used book sale this morning because of the Edward Gorey illustrations, but the whole darn thing charmed me. A keeper.
Nov 10, 2011 Lucia rated it it was amazing
This great and subtly sarcastic, humorous book is wonderful. I searched for it as the author passed away recently and I was not familiar with her work. GRHS. I must look for more. Good old Treehorn.
Oct 29, 2016 Karen rated it really liked it
We grabbed this book for one reason: drawings by Edward Gorey! We didn't know anything about it, nor did we realize it's part of a trilogy. From 1971, it's a dark commentary, along the lines of all "incredible shrinking" stories. Interesting, and with, of course, fantastic drawings. It makes me hope to find the other two in the trilogy!
Mar 21, 2008 Tawny rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Sabina
Author: Florence Parry Heidi
Illustrator: Edward Goney
Title: The Shrinking of Treehorn
Genre: children’s fantasy
Publication Info: Holiday House. New York. 1971.
Recommended Age: 8 and up

Plot Summary: Treehorn is a little boy who finds himself slowly shrinking. His clothes get bigger and it is harder for him to reach things. At first no one believes him when he tells them he is shrinking. Then they realize just how small he has become. Even his bus driver and teacher do not recognize him at first. H
David Schaafsma
"Short people got no reason to live. .." Randy Newman

It begins:

"Something very strange was happening to Treehorn. The first thing he noticed was that he couldn't reach the shelf in his closet. . ."

A little later:

"My trousers are all stretching or something," said Treehorn to his mother. "I'm tripping on them all the time."

"That's too bad, dear," said his mother, looking into the oven. "I do hope this cake isn't going to fall," she said.

Other adult reactions: "We'll let it go for today," said his
Briar Rose
When you're a kid, it can feel like the adults around you ignore and misunderstand your problems, even when you're literally shrinking away in front of them! Sometimes the only person who can solve a problem is you, and sometimes you just have to stumble into the solution.

I picked up this book because I love Edward Gorey. His slightly eerie illustrations are perfect for this deadpan comic tale of a boy who starts shrinking. Heide does a lot with a few words, shading in each relationship and each
Knihu jsem si půjčila čistě kvůli ilustracím od Edwarda Goreyho. Protože dojem z ilustrace není kompletní, dokud si nepřečtete příběh, který doprovází, jala jsem se ji přečíst, neočekávaje mnoho od příběhu pro dětské čtenáře. Jaké bylo mépřekvalení! ( :D ) Přiznám se, že jsem nehledala, jak vznikla spolupráce Heide-Gorey, ale toto spojení je takříkajíc geniální - styl příběhu a kreseb spolu velice dobře jsou, řekla bych, že jsou si velice podobné. Knihu si dovolím doporučit i starším čtenářům. ...more
I really like the style of writing. I found this book lying in a cardboard box, getting ready to be trashed, but I haven't read any sort of voice like this in a while. To me, it closely mimics the exact version of the author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. This earns a full 5 starts, hands down, because it teaches us all, with illustrations and worded text, that adults pay no attention to children indeed! In fact, many of us are so apathetic about our children, that they even realize how ...more
Apr 07, 2012 Elaina rated it really liked it
Young Treehorn discovers one day that he is shrinking. Is that even possible? Aren't children supposed to grow and not shrink?

After finally convincing his oblivious parents that he is indeed getting smaller, Treehorn attempts to continue living his life. Things, however, aren't as simple as they used to be. Treehorn even gets sent to the Principle's office for jumping to reach the water fountain at school!

Why is Treehorn shrinking? And, does it have anything to do with that mysterious game he p
Mar 18, 2012 Sarca rated it really liked it
Here's a weird story: this book was at our elementary school library and either my sisor I had taken it out once and never brought it back. I'm not sure how this happened, but a total clean-out of our stuff (closets, under bed, toy box, etc) we found the copy of Treehorn. I think I still have it somewhere...

Gorey's drawings totally scared and intrigued me as a kid. This story was a little funky: Treehorn (odd name for starters) is shrinking (literally) and everyone notices, but no one will pull
Oct 04, 2015 Alger rated it it was amazing
A child's existential primer, The Shrinking of Treehorn defies classification in that way that all the best children's literature does. In a world of indifferent adults and arbitrary rules (being sent to the principal's office for shrinking in class for example), Treehorn tries vary hard to just get on with his life while growing ever smaller. Told with a deadly earnestness, the tone and deadpan humor of Heide's classic is something I recognized immediately the first time I read Kafka.

This book
Jamie is
Nov 11, 2014 Jamie is rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favebooks
First read this in kindergarten, so I am drawn to the story and drawings by a very strong feeling of nostalgia. However, I rediscovered this book in high school when I began re-appreciating Edward Gorey drawings for their sketchy, unsettling and gothic representations. I also appreciate the story now as one of transformation and discovery. Gave this book to a professor of mine in college and still own a pristine (if not for the sadly yellowing pages) copy.
Apr 07, 2016 Kyrie rated it really liked it
Shelves: children
I love the illustrations, and would really, really like to have a house with as many bookshelves as Treehorn's family.

Clever story about a boy who shrinks, recovers, has another problem, and basically learns that adults don't pay attention.

No, it's not a feel good - we got your back young one story, but it's funny, and sarky kids will probably be amused.

I see it's a series. I'll have to find the rest.

Also, who the heck names their kid Treehorn?
Sep 03, 2014 Coqueline rated it it was amazing
I borrowed this book from the library when I was 4 (sometime in 1982), and haven't returned it ever since (sorry, library).

I didn't really get it when I first took it home, but it made sense much later on on my childhood, and it is one book that I will always remember as *the* book of my childhood. Not because my parents ignored me, but I think I learned my first love of Edward Gorey and his dark humour from this book.

I would definitely make sure my child have this book on her shelf.
Sep 09, 2014 Anne rated it really liked it
Reminded me of Roald Dahl. A Dahl in miniature. The Shrinking of Roald.

“'He really is getting smaller,' said Treehorn's mother. 'What will we do? What will people say?'
'Why, they'll say he's getting smaller,' said Treehorn's father. He thought for a moment. 'I wonder if he's doing it on purpose. Just to be different.'
'Why would he want to be different?' asked Treehorn's mother.”
Sep 29, 2008 Patricia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Patricia by: my children
one of my favorite books of all time....all the treehorn books - edward gory and ms. heide, what a combo!
all people adults and children should read all of the treehorn series....they are so sardonic and so british and address the weird things children think about and don't talk to adults about.
but all people should read everthing edward gory has illustrated and written.
Apr 26, 2016 Allie rated it really liked it
A weird little book about a shrinking boy. I quite liked it but I'm not sure if kids would like it today. The pacing is slow, the humor is subtle, and illustrations, while fantastic, aren't as eye catching as a lot of what's out there. Still, I'll recommend it and talk it up in the hopes that a little weirdo/kindred spirit will read it.
Callie Rose Tyler
Jan 08, 2013 Callie Rose Tyler rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
The concept of this book is actually quite sad. This little boy is shrinking and nobody seems to care, not his mother or father or teacher not even his friends. Yet it is cleverly written and well told (even if I thought it dragged on a little too long for my liking).

Not Gorey's best art in my opinion.
Jul 27, 2010 Esther rated it liked it
Browsing the picture books at the library to get another pile for Annika, I came across this which I remember reading when I was a child. I remember some of the Edward Gory illustrations quite vividly. I wonder how the indifference of the parents, albeit exaggerated for comedy, goes down now with todays children with helicopter over-scheduling parents.
Jul 06, 2008 Val rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This is a really cute story. I thought it was going to end up like that Buffy episode where the girl becomes invisible because everyone ignores her... but it doesn't. It's kind of like Jumanji in that there is a board game involved.
Jan 22, 2011 Dianna rated it it was amazing
Treehorn is shrinking, but his parents barely notice or care. No one does. Luckily Treehorn happens upon the solution himself.

This book is odd. The humor is a bit off-kilter, but very subtle. My son took it all very seriously and was completely engrossed.
Feb 10, 2014 Beverly rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picturebooks, j-humor
Slyly pokes fun at the establishment be describing the tribulations of an ordinary boy, who, for no apparent reason, starts to shrink. Narrated in a dead-pan style with black and white ink illustrations to match; off-beat humor.
Nov 07, 2015 Jessica rated it liked it
Shelves: staff-reads-gpl
very peculiar page-turner... would not be the first that I would pick from the shelf, but definitely glad that I did!
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"What do I like about writing for children? Everything," says Florence Parry Heide, the award-winning author of more than sixty children’s books, including the classic THE SHRINKING OF TREEHORN, illustrated by Edward Gorey. "I like the connection with children," the author says. "I like the connection with all kinds of book people. And I like the connection with my childhood self, which is the ...more
More about Florence Parry Heide...

Other Books in the Series

The Adventures of Treehorn (3 books)
  • Treehorn's Treasure
  • Treehorn's Wish

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