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Small Change for Stuart (Stuart Horten #1)

3.9  ·  Rating Details ·  2,530 Ratings  ·  456 Reviews
Stuart Horten—ten years old and small for his age—moves to the dreary town of Beeton, far away from all his friends. And then he meets his new next-door neighbours, the unbearable Kingley triplets, and things get even worse.

But in Beeton begins the strangest adventure of Stuart’s life as he is swept up in quest to find his great-uncle’s lost workshop—a workshop stuffed wit
Hardcover, 282 pages
Published June 28th 2011 by Doubleday (first published January 1st 2011)
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Sydney One "mini plot" in the beginning of the book is the mysterious box that Horten finds and tries to open.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Darth J
Good for teachers, Meh for entertainment

I really liked the premise and the illustrations are charming, but this just was too dry to really enjoy. I can see teachers picking this up for a class read because kids can learn new words via the crossword creator father, but that character is actually pretty obnoxious the more you get into the book; like he seems like the dumb friend you have who got a word-a-day calendar and is trying to impress you but is just really inefficient with keeping a conver
Becky Loader
Sep 10, 2012 Becky Loader rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Stuart Horten and his family have recently moved back to his father's childhood hometown, and Stuart discovers that his family has played quite an important role in local history. Stuart solves the mystery of his missing great-uncle Teeny-Tiny Tony Horten and makes a great friend along the way. Full of great language and vocabulary, the story plays out with wit and style. I especially liked Leonora and her seeing-eye dog, and the villainess reminded me of Cruella deVil. Fun! I've already request ...more
The Rusty Key
Apr 16, 2012 The Rusty Key rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reviewed by Rusty Key Writer: Becca Worthington

Recommended for: Boys and girls, ages 8 and up

One Word Summary: Mesmerizing.

My father used to do magic tricks at my siblings’ and my birthday parties when we were little. It was basic, beginner stuff—pick a card any card, guess which tiny cup the fluff ball is under, sleight-of-hand-type novelty tricks—but it won us over nonetheless. We sat there year after year, a group of enthralled and entranced elementary schoolers on a green shag carpet, gawki
Oct 19, 2012 TheBookSmugglers rated it really liked it
Shelves: charming-mg, mg
This is the Great! Unexpected! Dangerous! story of the great magician Tony Horten, the mysterious circumstances of his disappearance and the quest that a young boy undergoes to find the magician’s missing workshop and its miraculous mechanisms.

The unlikely hero of this story is a (small for his age) 10-year-old boy named him Stuart Horten by his very smart yet not entirely sensible parents. With a name that could be shortened to S. Horten, Stuart, who is indeed a child very small for his age, is
colleen the convivial curmudgeon
This is a fun book which contains pretty much what it says on the tin - magic, mystery and a very strange adventure.

Stuart moves with his family to his father's childhood town of Beeton, much against his will. When there, he finds out some things about his family - including the fact that his great-uncle was a magician of the prestidigitation variety. Half by accident, Stuart is set on a journey to discover the lost workshop of his uncle, coming across mysterious clues in a National Treasure typ
I enjoyed this story about a boy named Horten who moves back to his ancestors' hometown and discovers a mystery waiting for him. His great uncle had been a magician, and his workshop was never discovered... but Horten has found a few clues that might lead him to it. I was strongly reminded of the Magic series by Bosch (The Name of This Book is Secret and sequels), a little bit of Grabenstein's Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library, and a little of Patrick Carman's Floors.
Jen Mech
I LOVE THIS BOOK! This was fantastically reminiscent of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, and even Coraline. I cannot say enough how well written, developed, and intriguing this book was to me, and I can't wait to share it with a child or family.
Oct 21, 2012 Alexandra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Ich muss weg, und es kann sein, dass ich nicht mehr zurückkehre. Wenn ich nicht wiederkomme, gehört meine Werkstatt und alles, was sich darin befindet, dir - wenn du sie finden kannst.
Und wenn du sie findest, dann bist du auch der Richtige dafür."
Seite 5 / Vorspann + Seite 97

Der 10jährige Stuart Horton kann es nicht fassen: Verkünden ihm doch seine Eltern, dass sie - ausgerechnet auch noch zu Ferienbeginn - umziehen werden. In die verschlafene Stadt Beeton soll es gehen, in der sein
Mar 10, 2012 Cheryl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Stuart Horten was in for a big surprise, when his parents informed him that they were moving. This was not good for Stuart. Summer time was about to start. This is definitely, not the right time to move for a ten year old, when school is out and he is the new kid. Who will he play with? With there is always his next door neighbors…the Kingley triplets…April, May, and June. They are quite interested in Stuart. Stuart finds a grand adventure when his stumbles upon a message from his Uncle urging S ...more
This was a unique experience: this book was recommended to ME by a student instead of the other way around. He did warn me that I need to buy the second book, as well... I should have listened. This ends just where I expected it to really begin.

This was a very fun, interesting read. Stuart is clever, adventurous and resourceful: a great character for my students to read about and try to relate to.

I admit, though, that given the title I'd anticipated more of the miraculous mechanisms and less of
Jul 01, 2012 Tara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Small change for Stuart begins with Stuart’s family moving to a new town. Stuart finds life in the new town pretty boring. That is until; he begins his adventure to find his great uncle’s magic workshop. His next door neighbours, who are triplets, April, May and June, provide laughs with their different personalities and try and help Stuart.

As Stuart is on his journey, he has to solve little puzzles which the reader can do at the same time. This book is accessible for all ages if they want a fu
Flora Smith
Jul 23, 2012 Flora Smith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a fun, cute book! This book is perfect for middle grade kids, ages 8-12, or for anyone who is still a kid at heart.

Stuart Horten, S. Horten, who is smaller than most kids his age, has just moved to his dad's old hometown. Its summertime and Stuart knows no one in the neighborhood. He's feeling lost and lonely when he comes upon a family mystery. He learns that his great uncle Tony Horten was a magician that mysteriously disappeared. When he unexpectedly comes across the first in a series o
Jessica at Book Sake
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, bu
Chelsea Couillard-Smith
A fun mechanical mystery. A love a good clue trail, particularly one that has gone cold over time, and Horten was an engaging character to tag along with. The British, old-fashioned(ish) feel of the setting was also fun, and fit in perfectly with the history mystery revolving around magicians, disappearances, and clockwork secrets. However, I wish the ending hadn't been supernatural - I thought the emphasis on the mechanical would have led to a plausible explanation, but was disappointed by a su ...more
Not sure if it has to do with the fact that I read this book aloud and it took me over a month to get through it, but this book fell way short. It started out very intriguing, with a mystery and clues to discover, but quickly became confusing and was not only hard for my class to keep track of, but myself as well. I'm not sure if I really understand how everything played out. The other part of the book that was lacking was an element of a lesson or a moral. It's there, but not very strong. The m ...more
Jan 14, 2012 Jackie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was one of those read it straight through stories. I just couldn't put it down until I had finished it. I've got 2 middle school age children who are now currently reading it and loving it just as much as I did when I was reading it. If you want a great story for your kids, I highly recommend this book. Stuart is one of those characters you just can't help but like and April is obviously a friend to him for life. I am also suggesting to my local library that they purchase this book for ...more
Danielle Heape
As a school teacher I see soooo many possibilities to integrate with this book! While reading we could dive into a study on family history, locate primary documents, write memoirs from the point of view of a relative or fictional memoirs. So many ideas running through my head as I read! I also loved the pace of the book. It is fast paced and exciting ~ making a very fun read aloud! Excited to read the sequel.
Aug 07, 2015 Julie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book made me realize that I really do like mysteries - when they're well done. After all, it reminded me of another of my all-time favorites, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler!
Rebecca Sofferman
Apr 12, 2013 Rebecca Sofferman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: elementary, ya
A very fun, light mystery, with the quirky British humor I love so well! Was hoping it had more of a steampunk theme due to the cover, but that wasn't really the case. Still, worth a read for anyone who likes adventure stories with a hint of mystery and magic!
Apr 11, 2012 Audrey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: jr-reads
Brilliant. Love the coins and the machines. Love the triplets that live next door. Love that the only books that I pick up believing to be one-offs turn into series. Here's hoping for a great couple of books to come
Mar 27, 2012 Ela rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ela by: The CILIP Carnegie Award
A nice adventure for children but lacks depth that makes some childrens' books truly engaging and thought provoking.
I don't think it deserves to be on the shortlist for the CILIP Carnegie award and certainly shouldn't win but it is amusing and good fun for 8-10 year olds.
Jul 31, 2012 Stacey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved it! It was unexpected, and unusual, and fantastic. My husband read it aloud to me and my daughter. It was delightful and I recommend it to anyone.
Hoover Public Library Kids and Teens
This is not your typical mystery. It's quirky and smart, and I can't wait to booktalk it to all the schools in Hoover.
May 19, 2012 Donna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book a lot. Reminded me of a Secret Series book for younger readers. First book of at least two. I look forward to reading the second installment this fall.
Erin Schyck
Jan 02, 2013 Erin Schyck rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Such a fun quick read. Great for older elementary and middle schoolers (though my 21 year old thought it was fun too!).
Jul 19, 2012 Debbie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: magical, puzzles
Loved this but the ending was a bit confusing. I THINK I understand what happened?
Aug 31, 2012 Sarah rated it really liked it
Great book. Mainly simple vocab but good plot.
Jan 01, 2014 Regan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-owned-read
A very fun and enjoyable story.
Feb 13, 2013 Haim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the Victorian era contraptions. I was hoping for less fantasy.
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After a brief career in medicine, and an even briefer one in stand-up, Lissa Evans became a comedy producer, first in radio and then in television. Her first novel, Spencer's List, was published in 2002, and since then she has written three more books for adults (two of them longlisted for the Orange/Baileys Prize) and two for children (the first of them shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal). Her tw ...more
More about Lissa Evans...

Other Books in the Series

Stuart Horten (2 books)
  • Horten's Incredible Illusions: Magic, Mystery & Another Very Strange Adventure (Horten's Miraculous Mechanisms #2)

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