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Horns and Wrinkles

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  1,217 ratings  ·  239 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 that s ...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published September 11th 2006 by HMH Books for Young Readers (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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3.57  · 
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 ·  1,217 ratings  ·  239 reviews

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Sep 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Mississippi River is the backdrop for this rollicking fantasy of river trolls, rock trolls, a blue-wing fairy, a lying cricket named Reliable St. John and a young girl on a quest. It all starts with cousin Duke who grows a horn and eleven year old, Claire, who wants to save him as well as her other relatives who have been turned to stone.

Joined by three river trolls named Jim Dandy, Biz and Stump they set out to find the stone feather which will change Claire's relatives back into themselves
Oct 15, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: children-s
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.
Kathy Davie
Jul 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A standalone fantasy adventure story about two children — one good, and the other, well, not-so-good, in Blue Wing, a little town alongside the Mississippi River, in early May.

My Take
I like Helgerson’s start with the mean Duke and then Claire’s note of the “queer old chunk of water”. That narrative hook pulled me right into Horns & Wrinkles, dying to know what came next in this quirky story as told in first-person protagonist point-of-view from Claire's perspective.

There is a sweetness and i
Elaine Alarcon-Totten
I love the muskrat. I have always loved that muskrat and want to see more the muskrat in future stories.
Oct 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
I have had this book for a long time read and was excited to finally read it. A while ago I read Crows and Cards by Helgerson and enjoyed it, that book prompted me to pick up this one. This was a cute and fun read about faerie magic along the Mississippi river.

Claire lives along an odd portion of the Mississippi river and is playing with her bossy bullying cousin Dane when he is cursed. Then his family is found turned to stone and Claire is determined to turn them back. Ends up Dane is keeping c
Aug 26, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Dec 15, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: fromthelibrary, jfic
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
Oct 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 15, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, juvenile
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
Apr 01, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: childrens, fantasy, 2008
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!
Jul 29, 2010 rated it did not like it
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.
Mar 02, 2009 rated it it was ok
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.
Aug 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
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.
Jan 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
A fun little fantasy adventure along the mighty Mississippi. We could all use a Reliable St. John to, erm, point us in the right direction.
Jul 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: finn-wren, read-aloud
A wonderful, wonderful book. Funny, very clever and kind. Another reviewer describes it as fairytale-like and I would agree- a fairytale without the tiresome elements like princesses and heavy on the fun stuff like trolls and raccoons in dresses - and calling soda "pop", which is of course the proper term:). Very highly recommended!

*It's the kind of place that shines up good in the moonlight, with lots of crooked old buildings built over a forgotten Indian village.*

Note- there is a one-star revi
Aug 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Bonus point for original world-building. Fast paced rich adventure fantasy, with interesting characters. Plenty of humor, and the chapter head illustrations charmed. Normally I'm not much into page-turners, but this had so much more going on that it worked for me. And I bet anything it would work for kids, too - boys and girls, age 8-12 I think might be best.

How's this for an original curse threat? "If there's any funny business, I'll turn you all into books. Thick ones, with no pictures, and ti
Nov 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
Don’t get me wrong, I love me some weird. Love unusual children’s stories, Tim Burton, darker fantasy, etc. However, this was strange and hard to follow - & not in a fun dreamlike way.
I was intrigued by the premise, but... Halfway through the book things just got super convoluted. I did finish the book but it so wasn’t worth my time.
Kelly Morse
Jul 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think this would be a good book to read aloud to a 7-10 year old. My mom used to read to us before bed and with this fun story and cliff hanger chapters it seems like a good book for such things. Maybe one day I will have the opportunity to do so.
Jun 04, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cute quick read, well written.
Feb 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 10-12, fantasy, minnesota
A cute fantasy adventure for middle-grade readers. Great cover.
Kest Schwartzman
May 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
extra credit for a young female protagonist whose gender doesn't matter to the plot.
Enoch Enns
Mar 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Something about it keeps me coming back and makes for a definitely recommendable adventure. Set in Mississippi, Helgerson brings to life an adventurous tale for both and almost young (as I don't quite consider myself "old" yet). Regardless, if you like rock trolls and river trolls and simple lessons of life, definitely check out Joseph Helgerson's Horns and Wrinkles!
Mar 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: junior-library
Magical and whimsical middle grade reading
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
Ava Smithey
Mar 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
We read this in 4th grade (Miss Vanderveer's class)
Gabs {My Full Bookshelf Reviews}
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
Shawn Carroll
Feb 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Aleah Taylor
Oct 25, 2015 rated it liked it
Claire is a girl with a big problem, her cousin Duke who just happens to be a terrible bully. One day as Duke is terrorizing Claire along their local stretch of the Mississippi river something magic, or ‘rivery’, happens… Duke grows a horn. Forced to believe in the river magic Claire has only heard tales about, she sets off to help her cousin, who runs away from home to hang out with some river trolls. But river trolls are untrustworthy and without the help of an old blue-wing fairy both childre ...more
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BDCHS Advanced Re...: Horns and Wrinkles- Zachary Frey 2 8 Sep 22, 2014 11:06AM  

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Joseph Helgerson was born and raised along the Mississippi River. Catfish and river trolls were his early pals. During the flood of ‘51 he had to be evacuated from his home by a leaky rowboat. The first school he attended was a one-room country schoolhouse that overlooked the river near Queens Bluff, Minnesota. Today he keeps an eye on the river as it passes through the twin cities of Minneapolis ...more
“If you ever land in a cave full of rock trolls, remember not to breathe deep. The air trapped in that cave hasn't been around any roses.” 0 likes
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