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As if being small and having S. Horten as his name isn't bad enough, now 10-year-old Stuart is forced to move far away from all his friends.But on his very first day in his new home, Stuart's swept up in an extraordinary adventure: the quest to find his great-uncle Tony--a famous magician who literally disappeared off the face of the earth--and Tony's marvelous, long-lost workshop. Along the way, Stuart ...
As if being small and having S. Horten as his name isn't bad enough, now 10-year-old Stuart is forced to move far away from all his friends.But on his very first day in his new home, Stuart's swept up in an extraordinary adventure: the quest to find his great-uncle Tony--a famous magician who literally disappeared off the face of the earth--and Tony's marvelous, long-lost workshop. Along the way, Stuart reluctantly accepts help from the annoying triplets next door… and encounters trouble from another magician who's also desperate to get hold of Tony's treasures.
A quirky, smart, charming page-turner, Horten's Miraculous Mechanisms will enchant young readers--as well as teachers, librarians, and parents.
Long-listed for the Carnegie Medal (2012) and the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize (2011)
“Stuart is a likable, plucky little guy, the Charlie Bucket to great-uncle Tony's Willy Wonka…The elements of magical realism that waft through the narrative keep things humming along nicely. This British import, long listed for the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize, leaves the door ajar for more adventures.” --Booklist
“Small Stuart embarks on an awfully big adventure in this quirky puzzle-solving novel….Each more curious than the one before, the far-fetched solutions they require bring the book to a hugely satisfying conclusion.” --The Guardian
“An adventure that will enthrall smaller people and the adults reading to them in equal measure.” --The Independent
“The action cracks along at a good pace and is a brilliant pre-teen magical mystery story.” --The Bookbag
“This story has time travel, dastardly villains, lots of machinery and some seriously good adventures!” --Fun Kids
Posted March 21, 2012
I really enjoyed this book. It is a magical blend of mystery and just the right amount of magical adventure to keep young readers and their parents glued to the pages. The thrills and action are age appropriate for preteen readers. An exceptionally short young boy named Stuart Horten is about to have a wonderful summer adventure. S.Horten's family moves back to the town where Stuart's uncle, Teeny Tiny Tony Horten once lived and worked as a magician. Stuart finds that Teeny Tiny Tony mysteriously disappeared some years ago. With the the help of April, May, and June, the identical and precocious triplets who live next door, Stuart follows magical clues left by Teeny Tiny Tony to hopefully solve the mystery of his missing uncle. Book provided for review by Sterling Children's Books.
8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 4, 2012
i got an ARC of this book and it sat on my shelf for at least a month. I finally picked it up and kicked myself for not reading sooner. This was a quick light read that kept me entertained. Great for the 7-12 crowd but enjoyable for all ages.
4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 9, 2012
Book Review (ARC)
This was a pretty cute, quick read. I think that a lot of children will really enjoy the story and the Indiana Jones like clues that Stuart has to follow in order to find out the mystery behind his great-uncle Tony’s disappearance. There are clear cut good and bad characters and kids will have an easy time following along with who they are rooting for and who to watch out for.
I do wish there was more of the triplets from next door. They don’t show up in full force many times, but they were so entertaining I missed them when they weren’t around. One of the triplets was in the story more than the others and luckily she held her own! Overall younger kids will be able to grasp the storyline and enjoy the magic and mystery.
Reviewed by Jessica for Book Sake.
2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 10, 2013
Posted January 4, 2013
Posted April 21, 2012
Posted April 20, 2012
I loved this book and more importantly so did my kids and the friend's of my kids. It is so cute. A light, fun, but interesting read full of magic and just the right amount of wholesome adventure. You won't be disappointed.
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Posted July 7, 2014
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Posted February 10, 2014
Posted November 25, 2013
Rating: 4 Stars
I love children’s books. I really, really do. My parents (and some of my classmates) tend to look at me strangely when I whip out a MG book for some light reading, but I really do love reading them. After all, these were the books that cultivated my love of reading at an early age and some of the better, more imaginative books I have read were MG. With that said, I am proud to say that I loved HORTON’S MIRACULOUS MECHANISMS.
The story is extremely well developed and the author definitely knows her audience! I mean, what kid wouldn’t want to go on a scavenger hunt of a lifetime that’s filled with magic (real and show-businessy magic) and riddles all wrapped with clues from history! [To be honest, I kind of figured out the climax and resolution halfway through, but I like to think that it's because of all the books I've read as a child until now... I doubt any of its intended audience will be able to catch on as quickly :p ]
When I read the summary, I was expecting something more BENEDICT’S in terms of clues and riddles but the scavenger hunt was as straight-forward as it could possibly get. That’s the reason why I had to dock it half a point. The joy that comes from reading a mystery book comes from being able to (or, at least, trying to) figure out the clues yourself.
Another reason why I had to dock it another half a star was that I felt the book itself was too short. It didn’t give enough time for the characters to fully develop in my mind, especially April. When she and her sisters were first introduced, I pretty much mentally listed all the stereotypical ways that the author might have demonstrated their friendship to Horten, but I enjoyed the way she approached their relationship.
However, I really wished that April was integrated into the story earlier since the book itself was really short to begin with. I felt as though she wasn’t given the time to fully develop as a character and, rather, was mainly there for the purpose of getting Horton out of sticky situations.
Regardless, this book was a very pleasant read and it was easy for me to disappear into the world and follow Horton along with his hunt.
Posted April 27, 2013
Can not and will not put it down.
The mystery, suspense, and even a bit of comedy really drags readers in.
Any reader would love this!
It is 100% worth the $8 you are probably about to spend.
Posted March 29, 2013
Posted January 24, 2013
Posted January 4, 2013
I read the first two chapters (about 30-pages) aloud to my 6-1/2 year old nephew and 8-1/2 year old niece. The story had not yet reached any "hook" in the plot, so it somewhat lost the kids' attention, although they were still willing to try again later. (Note that I have a rather good reputation for reading aloud to children, including changing voices for the characters, reading slowly and expressively, etc., so I don't think I was the cause of the problem.) Besides the slowly developing plot (from a kid's perspective at least), the language, phrases, and even sentence structure was noticeably British. (I Googled the author after the fact, and she is indeed British.) I had to stop to explain several words and phrases, and eventually resorted to just replacing some words as I read. I think this idiom issue was a more critical problem for the kids. It made it hard to follow the characters' conversation and meanings. So the storyline was that much harder to pick up. As an adult or young adult, I could see that this could be an interesting quick read, assuming you enjoy parsing out the language and cultural novelties. Personally, I do, so I may read it myself later, but I won't push it on the young kids.
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Posted November 10, 2012
Posted September 5, 2012
Posted June 22, 2012
Posted May 26, 2012
Horten’s Miraculous Mechanisms reminds me of The Phantom Tollbooth or Coraline where a young person manages to find his or her way into some wonderful and magical adventure where anything – especially that of an unexpected nature – can happen. This was a charming yet awfully short read, and I loved watching Stuart try to decipher his uncle’s encrypted messages and learn about his family legacy in magic-making. I also enjoyed Mr. and Mrs. Horten’s quirks, especially Mr. Horten’s crossword-inventing self that would thrown in the most random of comments. I did wish that the book had spent more time on expanding on the minor characters, especially the triplets, because they came onto the page with all sorts of interesting things to say, but then left shortly without really getting too embroiled in Stuart’s adventure. Overall though, Horten’s Miraculous Mechanisms can be a wonderful discovery for a young reader with a big imagination and a love for all things fantastic.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.