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Horns and Wrinkles

3.55 of 5 stars 3.55  ·  rating details  ·  947 ratings  ·  205 reviews
How can you tell if a river's under a spell? River trolls, rock trolls, blue-wing fairies--the usual suspects. The stretch of the Mississippi where Claire lives has rumors of them all, not that she's ever spotted any. But then Claire's cousin Duke takes a swim and sprouts a horn--a long, pointy, handsome thing. After that, Claire doesn't have much choice but to believe tha ...more
ebook, 368 pages
Published February 18th 2008 by Harcourt Brace and Company (first published 2006)
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Julie I bought this book for my 10 year old daughter at a school book fair this year. It looked cute and interesting, and I often read books I get for my…moreI bought this book for my 10 year old daughter at a school book fair this year. It looked cute and interesting, and I often read books I get for my kids. I found it to be well written and just as cute and interesting as it looked from the adorable illusrations on the cover and the start of each chapter. As I tend to read very quickly, I had it read in a few hours and I thoroughly enjoyed every second of it... and my daughter is excited to start reading it too.(less)
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I had such high hopes for this book: great art, fantastical characters, and a whimsically bizarre plot. (side note: wouldn't "whimsically bizarre" be a great band name?) In fact, I can't quite put my finger on what went wrong; I just found the story boring. I struggled about halfway through before moving on to more interesting material. I suppose the main character just didn't "hook" me; this came across as more of a read-aloud-to-your-kids-at-bedtime story, with little emotional depth or charac ...more
We listened to this in the car on audio. I told my husband I think it's like a 10-year-old boy vomited out whatever thoughts were in his mind. It's pretty much a chronological journey tale, but there seems to be very little linkage between the episodes and basically NO overall symbolic meaning or anything to give the story even the slightest depth. Even the attempts at humor fall flat.
Sep 26, 2008 Jill rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: I can't recommend this book
Recommended to Jill by: I saw it on It has a cute cover.
I'm giving this book one star for the beginning, one for Claire, the only character I cared about, and one for not being predictable.

I was really hooked in, with this book, at first. Claire's cousin, Duke is hanging her over the side of a bridge, by her ankles, and then he drops her. Instead of getting hurt, or making a big splash, she gently floats down. Claire lands in the rowboat of a kind, old lady. Duke is dropped over the side of the bridge by two, bigger bullies. When he is fished out of
Oct 07, 2009 Dawn rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Dawn by: Wendy
My sister Wendy recommended this book to me quite a while ago. I'm so glad I finally got around to reading it! Actually, I listened to it. We took the book on CD with us on a family trip. I really enjoyed the humor in this book and the way it is a uniquely American fantasy story. There are no castles, princesses, dragons, or other classic European fantasy elements. Instead, Helgerson gives us an inventive, "rivery" tale starring common folk and set on the Mississippi River. The fantasy elements ...more
Those that live on the bank of the Mississippi river have a word for the weird things that happen that there (like being turned to stone, growing a horn, or going missing) - and that's rivery. When something rivery happens, adults gets quiet and children are shuffled out of the room. But when something rivery happens to Duke, Claire's slightly younger cousin, Claire is needed to track him down and try to bring him home.

Of course, this is all complicated by river trolls, rock trolls, a missing tu
This book was a childrens classic. Overall this was a good book but i didnt enjoy it very much. Its the kind of book that when you get bored you might pick it up and look at it to keep yourself busy. For young kids who cant read at a very advanced level its also pretty good. The author made a fantasy using american elements. It wasnt about castles, knights, princesses, and other stuff that happened in a land far away. This is about kids and trolls along a american river. The author did a great j ...more
Claire knows how to handle bullies, even the ones who are related. So when her mean cousin Duke dangles her off the Wagon Wheel Bridge and threatens to drop her, she still doesn't give him what he wants. What she doesn't know is that the river trolls also know how to handle bullies, and soon Duke is sprouting a pointy horn where his nose used to be. Before long, all kinds of rivery things are happening: Duke's parents, Claire's grandpa, and the deputy sheriff, are all turned to stone; Duke's run ...more
Amy Nielsen
I tried to read this to my 7 yr old daughter but after I started getting confused, I knew for sure that she was. This story was weird with a capital weird. Lots of things badly explained, if ever and I never really got a sense of who the characters were. The whole plot of it was rather thrown at you in a few brief and unhelpful paragraphs that created more questions than did answer. I did enjoy The Great Rock Troll though. She was illuminated well. On the whole a clean book for kids, if not a tr ...more
Shawn Carroll
This is one of those slightly odd books to categorize. You can call it a girl’s adventure story, a Mississippi River yarn, a modern fantasy for tweens, a moral story about actions (and meanness) and consequences, and in each case it would be true. In fact that is its strength. I read it out loud for bedtime over several weeks, and neither my 4 year old son nor his almost 11 year old sister ever complained that it was boring. Believe me, if it had been, they’d have told me.

Instead they were spell
In which we learn that shooting stars smell "a little like a grilled cheese sandwich that's been burned . . . only sweeter." Quirky "rivery" fun with river trolls, rock trolls, rhinos, a blue-wing fairy, and some very funny lying crickets. I really wanted to like this book, but for some reason it just never caught me up and pulled me in. It had some fun moments, but overall it was just okay. Although the lying crickets did make me laugh several times!
Claire lives in Blue Wing, along the banks of the Mighty Mississippi. But unfortunately, no one in her family understands her. Her sisters don't get her fascination with the turtles and frogs that she adopts and her cousin is always trying to get rid of her. But the day that he drops her off a bridge in the river is a day that neither of them will ever forget. Her cousin, Duke, suddenly starts to sprout horns and the only person who knows how to stop it has been turned to stone. So Claire sets o ...more
Normally I enjoy books like this that are clean young reads and I love to discuss them with my nieces and nephews, but I had a hard time getting into this one. The little girl is a cute character but Duke is too obnoxious for me. The Old Lady could have been a great character, but I didn't feel like she got al the way there. Anyway I wont recommend it to even my nieces and nephews.
Whimsical and cute, though not very engaging. I found myself struggling to stay focused through some parts of the book, part due to the slow moving plot and part due to a yawning writing style.

The overall idea, the river troll characters, and the conclusion are very cute though. It's not a book you'll want to read more than once, though.
Quirky, orignal and utterly enchanting! I adored the rivery magic, Nettie's wonderful voice and the truly unique premise. Who can resist bullies being turned into rhinoceroses? I listened to this on audio and found myself taking the long way to prolong the pleasure of the book.
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
This was a strange story revolving around a folklore of magic and magical creatures surrounding the Mississippi River. Makes me want to search my American folklore books to see if the author based it on real folk beliefs or if he made the whole thing up. Entertaining.
I bought this book at a book fair at my 10 year old daughter's school this year. As I so often do, I screened it to know how it was before letting my daughter read it. I had it read in just a few hours and found it not only well written, but adorable, fun and engaging. The cover illustration is wonderful, as are the little sketches at the start of each chapter. I would highly recommend this book to any parent whose child loves fantastical creatures. Claire, the heroine, takes you on a journey, f ...more
Stacy Nyikos
Helgerson can spin a yarn a mile long, loop it back around and turn it into Technicolor. His style of writing reminds me of Garrison Keeler – imagination cubed with an American-folkart style. That said, the main character, Claire, (who also tells the story) goes through no real eye-opening, personal changes. Her cousin, Duke, does. Duke acts and Claire reacts. Still, I couldn’t help but fall in love with the timelessness of the piece. No cell phones, text messaging, TVs, radios, or other such pa ...more
Elsa F.
I loved the constant mystery of this . . . thing that made you want to look around every corner. it is also funny. like not crazy funny. just a giggle here and there. the book is about a bully name Duke and a girl named Claire. when Duke throws Claire off a bridge. as she falls. well drifts down she lands on a little boat with a old lady she sees her bully fall of to but his nose is not right after. Full of river trolls, rock trolls, and blue wing fairies. I think magic lovers should read this b ...more
This review (and others) can be found on My Full Bookshelf

This book was definitely more quirky than funny, and not the good kind of quirky, either. It was the kind that makes you scratch your head and wonder what the heck you just read. Yes, the story is inventive; I will give the book that much. But it's still pretty bizarre, and I just could not bring myself to care for the characters in the slightest bit.

First, there is Claire. Claire's an overall 'meh' kind of character. I didn't not like h
Jul 11, 2011 rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: juvenile, advanced & reluctant readers, boys, girls, families
This is an excellent treatment of modern folklore, which we recommend for ages 10-14 but certainly fascinating for younger advanced readers or older, reluctant readers too.

It brings forth visions of when those who lived along and worked the lakes and rivers in past centuries spoke of its magical properties, and of forests full of trolls and fairies. Helgerson successfully invokes feelings of nostalgia amongst his readers similar to reading a Mark Twain s
Fun fun fun fun fun! I can't say enough how much I loved this children's book.
Lots of things going for this one, first each chapter is only about 3 to 4 pages long, for a child being able to say, I've read 10 chapters today!, is absolutely great. And even if it's technically cheating, that's fine as long as they are excited about it and it leads them to try and do the same for the next book they read.
Second the story is amazingly funny, with river magic, trolls, and fairies all gathered togeth
Overall, this book was not the best. I don't think the story was strong and even interesting. The book needed more imagery. What I liked was that this book has a lot of great themes that I think that everyone should really follow.
This book had many themes. I think one message the author was trying to convey was that you should be kind to others and not be a bully. Bad things can happen to you for being a bully. In this book, Duke was always doing selfish things and was bullying people. He was so
This fun, witty and well-written fantasy tells of Claire, who lives near a magical stretch of the Mississippi River between Minnesota and Wisconsin and of the adventure, or should I say trouble, she gets into because of her bully of a cousin, Duke.

The book opens with Duke hanging her by the ankles off a bridge over the Mississippi: "The river I was hanging over was the Mississippi, which was flooding, all muddy and solid-looking as a freight train, about twenty feet below my ponytail. It was ear
The stoy starts out wit this boy named Duke who is holding a girl named Claire upside over the Mississippi river ,it so happens the boy and the girl are cusions. Duke was older and a vary big bully and had and a vary unicspected change sence he was was a bully.A older lady came along in a row boat down the mississippi river and ask about the littile girl Duke was dangaling off the edge of the bridge,Duke seid it waas a wort hog. then he seid bombs away jokingly but then the old lady egged him on ...more
Claire’s cousin Duke is a bully. He’s nasty and mean, and he’s never happier than when he’s bullying. Until one day, Duke bullies Claire near the river, and falls in—and when he comes out again, he’s grown a horn where his nose used to be.

There is no question that something rivery is going on. And when Duke’s parents get turned to stone, Claire is pretty sure that river trolls are involved. But she doesn’t have to guess anymore after Duke, horn and all, shows up outside her window and tells her
Jessi Leavell
This story was imaginative. It had some unexpected turns, especially the ending. The downfalls, though, was that the book seems to vomit important information at the reader. I had to re-read multiple pages because I a) got lost or b) lost interest then got lost. Though I thought it fun, I didn't find it to be "funny," like the cover suggests.
The art in the book is really cute and something I thoroughly enjoyed. Plus the crickets, crickets who can't tell the truth.
I got this book from my school library and I can honestly say- at first, I didn't get hooked enough to read everyday, and I love to read. But the 2nd time I took the book out from the library, I started reading about 30 pages every single day. I couldn't even put it down when it was time to shower! I do think you should know each chapter is about 3 pages long, the shortest I saw was 1 page. Also that the writing is quite interesting to people who love to read but the way it's written may be too ...more
Is this a kids book? It reads like a children's book. The cover was appealing to children as my 5-year-old kept inquiring about it. And my son would probably enjoy the story if it had more pictures. But my library had it shelved in regular fiction (I bought it used at a library book sale).
Cute story. A little odd. I loved the setting since I'm familiar with the area.
Mar 24, 2008 Michelle rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All ages.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book including Nicoletta Ceccoli's beautiful illustrations throughout. The adventure begins when "rivery" magic gives Claire's bullying cousin Duke a horn instead of a nose. Similar to Pinochio's nose, whenever he bullies someone, his horn grows as he slowly transforms into a rhinocerous. Only an act of true kindness will return him to himself, but Duke is too mean and selfish to care. He runs away and gets involved with some mischievous trolls who turn his family into ...more
I wish I hadn't wasted my time reading the entire book. I just kept thinking it would get better and things would make sense. There were so many loose ends and so many things that were unexplained, and the story just didn't hold together. I also couldn't really like the main character and thought the book was pretty boring.
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BDCHS Advanced Re...: Horns and Wrinkles- Zachary Frey 2 8 Sep 22, 2014 11:06AM  
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