Thursday, November 02, 2006


HORNS AND WRINKLES by Joseph Helgerson (Houghton Mifflin)
Use the word "fantasy," and what comes to mind? Dragons? Hobbits? Time tesselations? How about the Mississippi River? In ths fetching little tome (love the textured lizard-skin endpapers) we have the rare American breed of fantasy, as this quest down our very own legendary waterway leads characters--and readers--into funny and cliffhanging encounters with trolls (wearing bicycle suits and threatening things like" I'll turn you into books. Thick ones with no pictures and tiny print"), fairies (who knew they abounded around Minnesota?) and, um, fortune-telling catfish. The first page even starts with a cliffhanger (or rather, a bridgehanger) of a first sentence: "My cousin Duke's troubles on the river started the day he dangled me off the wagon wheel bridge," and doesn't let up unti the last page. Readers can decide for themselves if cousin Duke deserved the horn that grew on his nose. Funny and original, at last, we are over the rainbow here in the literary Midwest. (9 and up)

Also of interest:
For another fine American fantasy but with an East Coast flair, check out Laura Ruby's WALL IN THE WING, in which readers can decide which wish they would prefer to have granted: to fly, or to be invisible. (11 and up)

Links are provided for informational use. Don't forget to support your local bookseller.

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