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

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  1,958 ratings  ·  402 reviews
The exciting launch title of Sterling's middle-grade fiction list:
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
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published April 3rd 2012 by Sterling Children's Books (first published January 1st 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
colleen the fabulous fabulaphile
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
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
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
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
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 is another great read-aloud story for my Grade 4 class. The father uses BIG words which is wonderful for vocabulary development. Stuart finds a secret message from his great-uncle, a famous magician, and goes on an adventure to find his lost workshop. The chapters are fairly short so good read-aloud material. I also like that there is a sequel that my students can read afterward. I just need to get my hands on it!
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
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
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
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
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
Quirky characters, illustrations by the talented Edward Gorey and a vocabulary that will challenge curious middle readers create a fast paced, attention holding mystery. Stuart Horten is ten, small and relocating over summer vacation. His uncertainty grows when he sees the state of the families new boring house in the dilapidated town of Beeton. He soon learns that he has family history in Beeton. The town was the former home of his uncle who disappeared under strange circumstances. Stuart finds ...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.
Ryan Hatch
I would liken my feelings for this book to the feelings I have for the Atlanta Braves. It's a nice, fairly well constructed book, but ultimately it wouldn't get past the first round of the playoffs. There just isn't anything special about it. Evans is just an okay author. She develops characters well, but not exceptionally well. Her writing is clever, but not Lemony Snickets clever. I enjoyed this story, I just wasn't wowed by it. I think maybe the most exceptional part of the book is the
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!
This fantasy book truly is full of suspense, mystery, magic, and adventure. Evans tells the story of 10-year old Stuart Horten, who goes on a quest to uncover the mystery behind his long-lost great uncle, who happens to have been a magician. The extensive use of clues, anagrams, riddles, and cliffhangers keep the reader engaged and wanting more. This book also contains a lot of descriptive language and many seldom-used vocabulary words that would be fun for children to learn and use. This book’s ...more
Hau Duong
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
A very fun and enjoyable story.
Adele Broadbent
Stuart is short. And unfortunately has the surname Horten. S Horten. And life is even worse when his family move back to Beeton where his father grew up. It’s the school holidays and at first there is nothing to do. He meets the neighbours – annoying triplets he tries to avoid. Hiding in a phone box – something very strange happens and his adventures begin. He discovers his great uncle was a famous magician and he begins to follow clues left by him to lead him to his hidden magical workshop. But ...more
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.
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.
Loved this but the ending was a bit confusing. I THINK I understand what happened?
This book filled me with curiosity, and I rather enjoy being filled curiosity. After reading "The Invention of Hugo Cabret", I had wondered if any other book would provide the same brand of curiosity; "Horten's Miraculous Mechanisms" did not disappoint. I recall reading the whole book in just two sittings, and under twelve hours; it was a delight to read of all the coin operated mechanisms and how they fit into the story. Though things were a bit hazy at times, everything had worked out in the e ...more
Great book. Mainly simple vocab but good plot.
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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.
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Other Books in the Series

Stuart Horten (2 books)
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