“If you want to pretend you’re shrinking, that’s all right,” said Treehorn’s mother, “as long as you don’t do it at the table.” But Treehorn wasn’t pretending. He really was shrinking.
Hilarious complications result as he becomes more minuscule by the moment. Treehorn is a bit downhearted when his teacher says, “we don’t shrink in this class,” and sends him to the principal. Poor Treehorn spends an unhappy day and night until he discovers a magical game that restores him to his natural size. This is a great relief to Treehorn before he notices that he is turning faintly green. . . .
An ALA Notable Book
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)
Florence Parry Heide (1919–2011) was the author of more than 100 children’s books, including picture books, juvenile novels, two series of young adult mysteries, plays, songbooks, and poetry. She may be best remembered for her now-classic The Shrinking of Treehorn and its two sequels, illustrated by the great Edward Gorey. Florence grew up in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, married during World War Two, and spent her adult life in Kenosha, Wisconsin, with her husband and five children, all of whom grew up listening to the joyful sounds of an old typewriter.
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