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Horns and Wrinkles

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  1,124 Ratings  ·  231 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 Houghton Mifflin (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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Community Reviews

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Oct 15, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Aug 26, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  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 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 15, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  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
Apr 15, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, childrens, 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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Enoch Enns
Mar 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!
Jun 04, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cute quick read, well written.
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Nov 19, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
May 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
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
Jan 26, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children
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
Aug 17, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kidlit, funny, middlegrade
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
Mar 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Although the story has a classic feel of a fairy tale a la The Brothers Grimm, it is told very tongue in cheek without all the sweetness and glossing over that many modern versions of fairy tales have. It brings us a setting that children can relate to, told with humor and energy.

Although there were parts of the story that dragged just a little, overall this was well written and I feel no qualms about handing it over to a younger generation. The curses and bullying are tied together in a way tha
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
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BDCHS Advanced Re...: Horns and Wrinkles- Zachary Frey 2 8 Sep 22, 2014 11:06AM  
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