Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Joseph Helgerson

I just submitted this review to my editor today. Since the author's name has already been passed in this alphabetical sequence of reviews, I might as well squeeze it in here.

Horns and Wrinkles
by Joseph Helgerson
Recommended Age: 10+

Claire's adventure begins as her bullying cousin Duke holds her upside-down off a bridge over the Mississippi River. An encounter with a magical old lady in a self-steering boat turns Duke's nose into a rhinoceros horn. This sets in train a series of events involving trolls, fairies, curses, and the weird, "rivery" goings on known best to residents along the facing Minnesota and Wisconsin shores.

What else do you want to know about this book? People are turned to stone. A nice little girl and her nasty cousin are caught in the middle of a feud between river trolls and rock trolls - the ones who dig for shooting stars versus the ones who are trying to build a tunnel to the moon. Muskrats deliver messages tucked inside orange tennis shoes. Claire encounters gossiping coins, lying crickets, a shop called Trolls & Things, a gruesome offering to a troll queen, and a terrible fate in store for bullies. And the only thing that worries her is that she may not belong to her family after all. She may be a victim of the worst curse that can befall a troll: to be changed into a human!

Here is a quirky tale of magic and adventure along a stretch of the Mississippi whose magical properties have been, until now, woefully under-reported. Brought to life by the Twin Cities-based author of The Western Adventures of Zebulon Crabtree, this story is sure to amuse and delight.

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