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Horns and Wrinkles Hardcover – September 11, 2006


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 14 years
  • Grade Level: 4 - 6
  • Lexile Measure: 880L (What's this?)
  • Series: AWARDS: Mark Twain Nominees 2008-2009
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (September 11, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618616799
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618616794
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 5.8 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,405,975 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 4-7–With the Mississippi River full of magic, and a touch of the Pinocchio effect, a thriving rivery realm spills out into the real world. A human couple has been turned to stone while sitting across from one another in the breakfast nook, and when a few well-meaning people try to help, they too fall under the spell. Only 12-year-old Claire, accompanied by her irascible cousin, Duke, dares to get to the bottom of things. Duke has already been cursed with a horn for not showing an act of kindness, and the girls trust in him backfires when he steers her toward three conniving river trolls. From there, Claire must maneuver a perilous path through troll-river folklore and magical twists. Tongue-in-cheek humor brings a delightful zing to the playfully inventive storytelling and fast-paced plot. Enchanting sketches foreshadow each chapter, adding to the wonder. A new Mississippi River fable has been born.–Robyn Gioia, Bolles School, Ponte Vedra, FL
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Twelve-year-old Claire and other Blue Wing townsfolk know there's something magical about living along the Mississippi River. How else can they explain Claire's bullying cousin Duke suddenly finding a rhino horn growing where his nose was? Or Duke's parents mysteriously turning to stone? Seeking antidotes, Claire, who "can't resist an adventure," joins Duke and a motley trio of river trolls on a quest filled with obstacles, magic, and mayhem that ultimately leads to a showdown with a Rock Troll, who may hold the key to it all. Folksy charm, inventive fantasy, and diverse characters blend in this offbeat river tallish tale. Claire's droll first-person narrative details settings and events with storytelling flair and occasional poetic eloquence, and elegant, shadowy cameo art opens the chapters. Though multiple story lines and back stories--human and troll--occasionally overwhelm, and Claire's narrative sometimes reads older than her years, fantasy fans will still enjoy this humorous, imaginatively rendered story in which trolls wear nylon bicycle suits and bullies get a second chance. Shelle Rosenfeld
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

Author Joseph Helgerson lives in Minneapolis with his wife, daughter, and son. He has written two books, CROWS AND CARDS and HORNS AND WRINKLES.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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I gave this book to my 11 yr. old niece and she read it in two nights.
Isobel Dash
It has memorable and distinctive characters, unlike many fantasies, and creates a whole new Mississippi River mythology.
Maryland reader
The chapters are short and eventful, the writing is well-done and funny.
mountainmomma

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

44 of 46 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on September 7, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I've said it before and I'll say it again. When it comes to children's books, nine times out of ten the old phrase, "Don't judge a book by its cover" is bupkiss. Sometimes the cover is the only reason a child's going to pick up a book in the first place. And the image on the front of "Horns and Wrinkles" . . . . well, let's just say that more than one kid is going to find it a pretty tantalizing selection. Aside from the dreamlike quality and the subdued color scheme, there's also the fact that it sports a boy looking directly at you while wearing a nose like a rhinoceros. But pretty covers are a dime a dozen. "How's the story?", cry the parents of the fifth-graders who are straining to grab a copy or four of the pretty pretty book. Well, I've got some good news for you. This book is superb. A peach. A doll. It's a fun American story that puts the realism back into the term "magical realism". Add in a bunch of dreamy chapter-heading illustrations and what you have is a great little find.

It's kind of hard to pinpoint exactly when it all began, but it probably got started when that nasty boy Duke started dangling his cousin Claire off the Steel Girder Bridge just outside of town. Claire's been the victim of Duke's bullying for a long time now, but on this day something changed. Next thing anyone knew, Claire was sailing serenely down the Mississippi with a nice orange tennis shoe-wearing old lady and Duke had a horn growing out of his nose. Now everybody in Blue Wing, Minnesota knows that if something weird happens, it's probably going to be river related. This part of the Mississippi causes all kinds of oddities. Everything from fairies sightings to river and rock troll incidents, and it's no end of trouble to the town's residents.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Isobel Dash on October 14, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I gave this book to my 11 yr. old niece and she read it in two nights. That, above all else, is a recommendation of the highest degree. She said it's the best book she's read in years! I'm going to give a try next myself.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Atlantia on September 20, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The perfect read aloud to share or the perfect book for the fantasy fan in your life to cozy up with. Just great for middle grade readers who are looking for something other than Harry Potter . . . Joe Helgerson's language is spry, surprising, and a sheer delight. You must read this book!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By bhr on September 8, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The universe created in this book - a pocket of magic trapped along the northern part of the Mississippi - is so very real and imaginable. The author has done such a fantastic job of portraying the fantastic that even his footnote on how to find the fictional town is cute and believable.

The story itself centers around a few main characters. The main three: Claire, her cousin Duke, and a strange, nameless old lady are introduced within the first few pages. Claire is the hero of this tome. She's pure and cute and feisty. Duke is her bully of a cousin, and his bullying ways lead him down a strange path.

Claire's family are not thoroughly described, and yet, you feel as if you know them anyhow, so good is the craft in these words. You can see her moody older sisters, her uncle the dog-trainer, her grandfather the storyteller.

The story did at times have a bit too much reliance on the magical, though, and I found myself a bit lost trying to follow just what the author was trying to express.

But in the end, it was a very good story with a very good hero and a very good lesson. A good easy read for any fantasy reader; a good find for a young adult.

(*)>
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By CuzTou on October 14, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Horns and Wrinkles is simply a wonderful book for kids and adults alike. I haven't been this enchanted with a book in awhile. The personalities of the characters jump off the pages and make you feel like you are running along the Mississippi and experiencing the magic yourself. This book is a must read for anyone looking for a little magic.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Pluma on July 29, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very well written and charming children's story. My 2nd and 3rd grader both loved it and I enjoyed it as well. So many contemporary kid's books seem dumbed-down in vocabulary and structure but Horns&Wrinkles is a masterwork of children's fiction. The vocabulary is challenging but not beyond the reach of primary schoolers, the characters are varied and interesting while not being trite, and the plot is involved and engaging and never seems forced.
Unlike so much of contemporary children's entertainment there are no poop jokes. :) And when children misbehave or mouth off to their parents there are consequences. A great story for the whole family.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Gypsi Phillips Bates VINE VOICE on May 26, 2008
Format: Paperback
This fun, witty and well-written fantasy tells of Claire, who lives near a magical stretch of the Mississippi River between Minnesota and Wisconsin and of the adventure, or should I say trouble, she gets into because of her bully of a cousin, Duke.

The book opens with Duke hanging her by the ankles off a bridge over the Mississippi:

"The river I was hanging over was the Mississippi, which was flooding, all muddy and solid-looking as a freight train, about twenty feet below my ponytail. It was early May. None of the trees had turned green yet, but you could smell it coming fast."

Duke's bullying--and the magic of the river--lands him with a rhino-nose, with troll friends and no desire to go back home. That means that Claire, with the help of a magical old lady, other trolls, some lying crickets and some good luck, has to rescue him from a horrible fate.

The result is a ripping good yarn combined with colorful, sometimes beautiful, prose. Horns and Wrinkles is now in my top 20 favorite children's fantasies. It was pure chance that I came across it, but now I'm going to give it a blanket recommendation to my friends (adults and children)--read it!
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