Edwin Menninger, it becomes evident quite early on in this engaging book, is hung up on trees, particularly those which dare to be different. He girdles his text with letters to his psychiatrist brothers, Karl and the late William Menninger, and signs them ""affectionately and arboreally yours."" His impassioned admiration includes such effusions as: ""Trees affected with such adverse circumstances will fight back rather than submit...they make all kinds of adjustments in a desperate determination to keep on living."" Besides brave trees, there are those whose roots go wild, which bear peculiar fruits and nuts, trees that are peculiar all over, obese trees, man-eating (no, not really) trees, trees that tell time and trees that make rain, trees that display affection and trees that go stark naked. There are sex switchers and tree flowers pollinated by bats. Mr. Menninger suggests that his book be considered a ""gawker's handbook"" and what with its exotic arboreal lore it is sure to set a reader tree-watching. And here's a thought to ponder: ""How would you like to be a male flower on a mangosteen tree with absolutely nothing to do?