Horns and Wrinkles
  • Alternative view 1 of Horns and Wrinkles
  • Alternative view 2 of Horns and Wrinkles

Horns and Wrinkles

4.5 27
by Joseph Helgerson, Nicoletta Ceccoli
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions


How can you tell if a river’s under a spell? River trolls, rock trolls, blue-wing fairies—the usual suspects. The stretch of the Mississippi where Claire lives has rumors of them all, not that she’s ever spotted any. But then Claire’s cousin Duke takes a swim and sprouts a horn—a long, pointy, handsome thing. After that, Claire doesn&…  See more details below

Overview


How can you tell if a river’s under a spell? River trolls, rock trolls, blue-wing fairies—the usual suspects. The stretch of the Mississippi where Claire lives has rumors of them all, not that she’s ever spotted any. But then Claire’s cousin Duke takes a swim and sprouts a horn—a long, pointy, handsome thing. After that, Claire doesn’t have much choice but to believe that something rivery is going on, especially since she’s the only one who can help Duke lose his new addition.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Bullies beware! In the town of Blue Wing, Minn., on the banks of the Mississippi River, 12-year-old Claire watches with fascination as her mean cousin Duke grows a rhinoceros horn after throwing Claire and her pet turtle off a bridge. Debut novelist Helgerson, through the heroine's first-person narration, does a remarkable job of making the magical goings-on seem completely plausible. The old woman who rescues Claire from the river, for instance, explains that only bullies who fall into that particular section of the river will grow a horn (Duke winds up getting tossed into the water himself); each month, rock trolls put a potion in the river to cause the physical change, then collect the bullies. The only way to reverse the spell is to perform a genuine act of kindness-and promptly, or the afflicted will transform into a wrinkly rhinoceros. It turns out that these horns have plagued Claire's family for generations; even the medical community is aware of these "rivery" effects. As with most memorable enchanted tales, it's up to the children to reverse the curse, and Claire asks in exchange for a good deed of her own. This likable heroine, full of spunk and tenacity, unspools her lively account at a quick pace, and quirky characters such as Bodacious Deepthink, the Great Rock Troll, add plenty of pizzazz. Nicoletti's half-tone chapter openers combine meticulous detail with fuzzy shadings, contributing to this charming book's paradoxical success as a thoroughly believable fantasy in which magic and the real world co-exist. Ages 9-12. (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Kathleen Isaacs
Holding her over the Mississippi River in flood, Claire's bullying cousin Duke drops her right into the rowboat of an elderly lady who turns out to be a blue-winged fairy, just the companion to have when your family is turned to stone and your cousin is made into a rhinoceros by the neighboring trolls. This cheerful magical adventure features a spunky pre-teen heroine with worries of her own. Perhaps the reason she is unlike the rest of her family is that she's really a troll, turned into a human being through a curse. Through dealing with her cousin she's learned a thing or two about bullies. This helps her stand up both to the river trolls who capture her and to the Great Rock Troll herself, Bodacious Deepthink, who has the stone feather that will release her family and others who came in contact with them in their petrified form. The humor and strong sense of place, a small area along the Minnesota/Wisconsin border where magic still exists, add to the appeal. Short chapters may help middle-grade readers who might find the length of this otherwise very accessible read daunting. Surreal illustrations by the noted Italian illustrator Nicoletta Ceccoli begin each chapter, and the book opens with a list of characters and map.
School Library Journal
Gr 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 girl's 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 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
On a stretch of the Mississippi River between Blue Wing, Minn. and Big Rock, Wis., magic still works thanks to a bluewing fairy's sacrifice. Each time Claire's cousin Duke bullies her, he is cursed to become a rhino, starting with the horn and progressing each time he bullies. Things go downhill from there. Their families are turned to stone, and the two are embroiled in an ages-old curse feud between the Rock Trolls and the River Trolls. After much adventuring, Claire and Duke face off against Bo the Great Rock Troll in different ways with quite different results, and everything turns out well for most. Helgerson's debut is a confusing, nonsensical mish-mash. The character quirks are forced, the narration is overly chatty and much of the humor is lame. The first-person narrator frequently knows the motivations of other characters, and the magic is silly and arbitrary. There's plenty of imagination here, but little logic or thought. Ceccoli's jewel-eyed spot illustrations don't make this a worthwhile purchase. (Fiction. 9-12)
From the Publisher

Bullies beware! In the town of Blue Wing, Minn., on the banks fo the Mississippi River, 12-year-old Claire watches with fascination as her mean cousin Duke grows a rhinoceros horn after throwing Claire and her pet turtle off a bridge. Debut novelist Helgerson, through the heroine's first-person narration, does a remarkable job of making the magical goings-on seem completely plausible. The old woman who resuces Claire from the river, for instance, explains that only bullies who fall into that particular section of the river will grow a horn (Duke winds up getting tossed into the water himserlf); each month, rock trolls put a potion in the river to cause the physical change, then collect the bullies. The only way to reverse the spell is to perform a genuine act of kindness--and promptly, or the afflicted will transform into a wrinkly rhinoceros. It turns out that these horns have plagued Claire's family for generations; even the medical community is aware of these "rivery" effects. As with most memorable enchanted tales, it's up to the children to reverse the curse, and Claire asks in exchange for a good deed of her own. This likable heroine, full of spunk and tenacity, unspools her lively account at a quick pace, and quirky characters such as Bodacious Deepthink, the Great Rock Troll, add plenty of pizzazz. Nicoletti's half-tone chapter openers combine meticulous detail with fuzzy shading, crontributing to this charming book's paradoxical success as a thoroughly believable fantasy in which magic and the real world co-exist.
Publishers Weekly, Starred

It's been a long stretch since I've encountered such genuine and affectionate storytelling, such creative imagining and unforgettable characters. Helgerson puts his stamp on the long tradition of Mississippi River writing, creating a new tall tale with all the hallmarks of a classic.
The San Diego Union-Tribune

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780618981786
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
02/18/2008
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
240
Sales rank:
1,187,513
Product dimensions:
5.13(w) x 7.63(h) x 0.57(d)
Lexile:
880L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Joseph Helgerson lives in Minneapolis with his wife, daughter, and son.

Nicoletta lives and works in San Marino, Italy. Awarded with the Andersen prize, "baia delle favole" as best Italian illustrator of the year in 2001, Nicoletta has also received the silver medal from the Society of Illustrators of New York.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >