Horten's Miraculous Mechanisms: Magic, Mystery, & a Very Strange Adventure
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Horten's Miraculous Mechanisms: Magic, Mystery, & a Very Strange Adventure (Stuart Horten #1)

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  1,440 ratings  ·  333 reviews
The exciting launch title of Sterling's middle-grade fiction list:
HORTEN'S MIRACULOUS MECHANISMS
Enter a wonderful world filled with real magic, mystery … and danger.

As if being small for his age and also 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
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Hardcover, 272 pages
Published April 3rd 2012 by Sterling Children's Books (first published June 28th 2011)
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The Rusty Key
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...more
colleen the contrarian  ± (... never stop fighting) ±
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...more
Becky Loader
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
Julesmarie
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...more
TheBookSmugglers
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...more
Cheryl
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
Pamela Huxtable
Fun, exciting and imaginative. Stuart Horten explores his family's mysterious roots when his parents move the family to the town of Beeton.

There are some obvious influences, including Roald Dahl's Charlie books and the memorable bulldozer scene from the beginning of The Hitchiker's Guide. But Evans definitely carves out her own territory with Uncle Tony's magical devices. There are some terrific characters - Stuart's crossword puzzle obsessed father is very funny. Stuart's new friend April is a...more
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...more
Flora Bateman
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...more
Tara
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...more
Chelsea
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
Jackie
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
Hollowspine
Stuart Horten, aka S. Horten or "Shorty Shorten" has moved to Beeton at the beginning the summer. Which is terrible. With no time to make friends Stuart is looking forward to a long lonely summer vacation, and Beeton seems to be a quiet town. That's until he finds out about his great uncle Teeny-Tiny Tony Horten, magician and creator of the most mysterious and magical contraptions.

The story follows Stuart as he discovers clues left for his lexigraphically inclined father and finds himself on the...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.
Ela
May 05, 2012 Ela rated it 3 of 5 stars
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.
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 me, and I can't wait to share it with a child or family.
Rebecca Buerkett
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!
Hau Duong
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Audrey
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
Regan
A very fun and enjoyable story.
Donna
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.
Stacey
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.
Debbie
Loved this but the ending was a bit confusing. I THINK I understand what happened?
Sarah
Great book. Mainly simple vocab but good plot.
ValiantPevensie4
This was book was such a wonderful surprise! I found it at the library and thought it looked like something to help ease my boredom a bit and actually found it so enjoyable! It was so refreshing and unique! Not like most books out right now. I find it really hard to find good books and often find myself just re-reading the good ones and the totally pointless and kinda dumb ones simply because I can't find anything new to read! As soon as I finished this one I went out to try and find the sequel...more
Muneera
Magical in every way possible.
Jonathan
I saw Horten's Miraculous Mechanisms on the shelf at my library a few weeks ago and each time I returned, I felt myself drawn to it. I couldn't resist the beautiful black-and-white visuals (I can't find the name of an artist anywhere in the book, but shout out to you for your beautiful chapter illustrations and the gorgeous cover) and the blurb sounded promising. The book is small, so I figured it was worth the risk. Even if I didn't like it, it's only 270 pages.

I definitely liked it. Our main c...more
Shanshad Whelan
A pleasantly quick read. Stuart Horton moves back to the town where his famous great uncle lived. He quickly realizes there is a mystery to be solved in the old puzzle box his father has--a mystery surrounding his missing uncle and his workshop. With the help of another child who lives next-door--a budding journalist with a nose for scandal--Stuart sets about solving the puzzles set before him. But other people in the town want the Horton workshop and the valuable things it holds . . . can Stuar...more
Brenda
Stuart Horten was an only child. His parents, though clever, were not fully involved in Stuart’s comings and goings. His mom was a scientist and his dad created crosswords. They had their things and Stuart had his – lots of friends, a great yard, a bike, a tree house, and a pond to explore. Life was pretty good until his mom got a new job, his dad discovered that the job was near his old hometown and it being the end of the school year the Hortens could easily move. Suddenly the boy who had ever...more
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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. She co-created Room 101 with Nick Hancock, produced Father Ted, and co-produced and directed The Kumars at Number 42. Her first novel, Spencer’s List, was published in 2002. Lissa Evans lives in north London.
More about Lissa Evans...
Horten's Incredible Illusions: Magic, Mystery & Another Very Strange Adventure Their Finest Hour and a Half Spencer's List Odd One Out Smudger the Dog Saves Christmas

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