In a sentence or so: Smugwick Manor is a kooky place with quirky people and mysterious happenings. Events get an extra helping of crazy when M’Lady Luggertuck decides to not have her corset laced quite so tight, and The Loosening begins.Horton Halfpott is a kitchen boy at Smugwick Manor. His job, sad as it is, is to wash dishes all day, every day. And on the rare and glorious occasion he finishes washing dishes before the day is over, he is off to polish the extensive fork collection. And then he is off to the silver platter…you get the idea. Horton has a few friends at the Manor, most importantly his best friend Bump, a stable boy who knows how great Horton is and what a bummer his life can be in that kitchen all the time.On the fateful day that M’Lady Luggertuck decides to leave her corset just a little looser, a chain of events take off that Horton could never have imagined. For instance, M’Lady decides to have a ball. In addition to this being a shock to everyone (M’Lady isn’t the most pleasant of folks), this creates even more work for the staff and, by extension, Horton. This extra work involves delivering the invitations personally, which leads to Horton meeting a bright, beautiful, and totally unattainable young lady. But on top of the ball and some serious crushing, some rare and precious valuables go missing at the Manor. Throw in a detective with an appetite greater than his detective skills, a very creepy and nasty Luther Luggertuck, some ship-less pirates, and secret room in the attic full of mystery, surprises, and hidden disguises, and things at Luggertuck Manor are running right off the rails.
Why you should be reading Horton Halfpott RIGHT NOW.
- This is a Middle Grade spoof on Victorian mysteries. Seriously, you haven’t heard of a better blend of hilarious and quirky and heart-warming heroism. I know you haven’t.
- The writing is Roald Dahl meets Harry Potter. YES. I KNOW. I’m being completely serious when I tell you that this is perhaps the best compliment I can possibly give for a MG book.
- The characters are hilarious (though often unintentionally so) and utterly loveable. Okay, maybe not Luther and M’Lady but every good book needs bad people.
- The author asides to the reader are fun and funny and make you feel like you’re sharing secrets with Tom Angleberger. I liked that a ton.
- The author created illustrations! You know he does some solid illustrations because he created the illustrations for this very blog! Pretty cool, no?
- If you are looking for a middle grade read that’s mysterious, silly, thoughtful, fun, and has just a splash of romance. Well, are you? Look no further!
- Cool kids read this book. Just saying. And by cool kids I mean nerd kids.
Fave quote: “Well, Reader? You know a little of Miss Sylvan-Smythe by now. Do you think she is likely to listen to this transparent flattery? Of course not. She jerked her hand away.” (pg 94)
Author: Tom Angleberger
Publisher: Amulet Press (Abrams)
Drop date: May 2011
Genre: Mystery, Humor, Middle GradeLisa is the nerd behind Lisa is Busy Nerding. She particularly likes to read young adult books that involve some sort of magic, dragons, or other such awesomeness. When she’s not reading, she’s gaming or watching a plethora of nerdy TV shows and movies with her equally nerdy husband and sweater wearing schnauzer.
Title: Horton Halfpott or The Fiendish Mystery of Smugwick Manor or The Loosening of M’Lady Luggertuck’s Corset