I originally wanted the Treehorn Trilogy because I love Gorey's artwork. I had never heard of Heide before. Thank God that's been remedied! An absolutely wonderful pairing of author and illustrator. Heide set this trilogy in the 1970s-1980s (unlike Gorey's preferred Edwardian era) but demonstrates her own brand of wry, understated, off-the-wall wit that shows she's a master of comedic writing in her own right. Each book is an absurdly deadpan little gem of surreal humor and fantasy.
The hero of all three books is a young boy named Treehorn. Each book takes "a day in the life" wherein, despite the total mundanity of Treehorn's young life, a fantastic and inexplicable magic event occurs to him which he must figure out (ah, the mystery!). He always seeks his parent's insight first but, alas, his very busy parents barely notice him or his predicaments. Treehorn appears so used to his parent's bland and blatant though benign neglect of him that he does not fuss or pout but accepts it as the normal course of his life and goes calmly about his business.
1. The Shrinking of Treehorn. The poor lad wakes up one day and discovers he can no longer reach a shelf in his closet and his clothes are now all too large. Hmm. Mom? Too bad, dear, I hope this cake doesn't fall. His parent's take when they finally do notice? Why would our son want to do that? And everyday he's a touch smaller. His best friend's opinion is that shrinking is a stupid thing to do. On the school bus, in class, during recess, at the Principal's office ~ no one gets excited over this startling turn of events. Least of all, Treehorn. Of course, he eventually figures out the wonderful bit of whimsy which is both the cause and the cure. (But I'm not gonna ruin it for you :-)
2. Treehorn's Treasure. Treehorn thoroughly enjoys comic books and the treasures listed in them that can be purchased with a coupon and a bit of change. Come to think of it, Dad owes him his allowance today. Does he? Dad is all about adages and proverbs. Save your money, son, it doesn't grow on trees. Reluctantly, Treehorn agrees. And deposits his dollar bill in a hole in their backyard tree for safe-keeping. Apparently a dollar bill placed in the interior of a tree will inspire it to quickly produce leaves that look just like dollar bills. Treehorn notices that some are ripe for the picking while other are still growing. Of course, he mentions this in turn to his mother, the house painter, the candy shop clerk, his Aunt Bertha and his father to little notice. A phlegmatic bunch to say the least. However, $26 buys a lot of comic books and candy. All good things must come to an end. How, when and why? Does it matter? Treehorn lives in the moment, takes life as it comes, has no regrets ... and a bunch of new comics :-)
3. Treehorn's Wish. It's Treehorn's birthday and hope springs eternal. He clears a space in his closet, just in case, to store all the many presents he might receive. He might get a TV today. Dad has to pay bills. Mom has to buy a new hat. Treehorn wonders if his parents might have a dog or a horse for him. When he heads outside to check all he finds is an old dirty jug. As he cleans it, a genie appears who Treehorn mistakes for the meter reader. His first wish... a birthday cake. Voila. And he has two more. Decisions, decisions. As usual, he shares the story of the genie and his pending wishes with all and sundry to little avail. Treehorn's tales of the marvelous are consistently and bizarrely underwhelming to his listeners. And therein lies the humor. Delightful reads all!
The physical set of books:
High quality paper, printing, art reproduction and binding. Sturdy hardboard slipcase. I have never had any qualms about buying from Pomegranate. While the set is a touch pricey, you get the commensurate value in book quality. In this case, you truly get what you pay for. And that's high praise from a value shopper and book lover like me.