Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Book Review Club - Horns & Wrinkles

Horns & Wrinkles
by Joseph Helgerson

middle grade

I have to say, I've had this book for a while. I picked it up. Put it down. Picked it up again. And then put it down.

Finally, last week, I made myself read it. I don't know why I hesitated, but after reading John Gardner (yes, I am haunted by Mr. Gardner), Horns & Wrinkles was the perfect antidote. Funny. Insanely creative. Set up north where I grew up, so it felt like slipping into a comfy old chair that had been hidden away and forgotten. Gloriously complete.

Horns & Wrinkles is the story of a girl, Claire, whose cousin, Duke, has a spell put on him for being such a pain-in-the-you-know-what bully. Every time he bullies, he turns a little more into a rhino. Until all is really lost, and he becomes one, only he doesn't mind. And Claire, who hates all of his bullying, finds herself repeatedly trying to save his happily lost soul, help the river trolls find their fathers, turn her grandfather, aunt and uncle (and their dog) back into humans (they've been turned to stone), and hoping all the while that she's not actually a river troll disguised as a human herself.


Imagination cubed.

I couldn't have come up with this in a million years, and now I totally want to get to know Joseph Helgerson. His style in Horns & Wrinkles is a combination of irreverent Mark Twain, folklorish Mississippi-river, and Helgerson hilarity. I grinned. I chuckled. I even laughed. And I kept wondering, "what in the world will he come up with next," and try as I might, Helgerson kept surprising me. Amazingly refreshing.

For more fun reads, pop over to our fearless leaders website, Barrie Summy, and dive into the delicacies listed there. So many good books. So little time!


Barrie said...

I love the sounds of this book! And you know Child #4 will gobble it up with those names and the rhino theme to boot!

Stacy Nyikos said...

I forgot about the rhino theme! Those little buggers are everywhere :-)

kaye said...

I like the sound of this book too and the cover art is delightful. I like your description, "It felt like slipping into a comfy old chair that had been hidden away and forgotten." I love books that feel that way. Nice review. If you want to read my review for the month, Two Old Women by Velma Wallis you’ll find it here.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

This sounds really wonderful. I like the cover!

Keri Mikulski said...

Great cover. :) Sounds great. Thanks for the review. :)

Sarah Laurence said...

I have some books like that on my shelf. You remind me to give another try. This book sounds fun for middle grade readers. Love the cover too. Good review!

Anonymous said...

Some people are just so clever! What a fun premise!

Alyssa Goodnight said...

Much the same as you, I've had this book for a while, even started reading it and got off track. I need to pick it up again and finish it.

You were right about the imagination though--unbelievable!

adrienne said...

I love that cover.
I know what you mean about that kind of imagination. Today I picked up a delightful picture book about a man with a bird's nest on his head. How does one think up these things?

gabe said...

Imagination cubed, eh? Sounds wonderful. Reminds me sort of Ellen Booraem's book "The Unnameables"?
No? Yes?

Stacy Nyikos said...

I love the cover too. It's so "READ ME".