Friday, June 24, 2011

Horton Halfpott, or, The fiendish mystery of Smugwick Manor, or, The loosening of M'Lady Luggertuck's corset.


Horton Halfpott, or, The fiendish mystery of Smugwick Manor, or, The loosening of M'Lady Luggertuck's Corset.
by Tom Angleberger
Amulet Books, 2011, 206 p.
Humorous Fiction
Here is a new book by the author of last year's hit, The Strange Case of the Origami Yoda. This book is very different from that, but it is so much fun. Horton is a dishwasher in the castle of Lady Luggertuck. She is normally a grumpy and difficult mistress, but one day she decides to loosen her corset. It makes her a little less grumpy, and the repercussions of "the loosening" are felt throughout the castle. Her son, Luther, is not happy about "the loosening," decides to try to make everyone as miserable as they were before. He devises a diabolical plan and it is up to Horton and his friends to try to stop him. The tone of the entire book is tongue in cheek. The names of the characters are hilarious, and Angleberger includes several sequences of very well written physical humor (people falling in the muck and that sort of thing). Behind it all, however, is clever wit and pointed satire. This would be a great one to read aloud but kids will also enjoy reading it themselves. (206 p)

1 comment:

marsha j said...

I read this based on your review and then forgot you reviewed it and reviewed it again. So, here is my review.

With a name like this, it has to be good, right? Not necessarily, but this hilarious book lives up to its title. The story begins with an unprecedented event: while being dressed one morning, M'lady Luggertuck, a nasty, tyrannical beast of a woman who runs Smugwick Manor like a despotic bully, decides to wear her corset a little looser. This loosening is somehow felt throughout the manor, and other shocking events begin to occur which involve thefts, disappearances, unbridled evil, pickle eclairs, love, mistaken identity, and a kidnapping. The colorful cast of characters includes, among others, Horton Halfpott, an honest, humble, mistreated kitchen boy and our unlikely hero; Celia, a sweet, very rich young lady who is the object of everyone's affections; a trio of stable boys named Bump, Blight, and Blemish; a huge, lazy detective, Portney St. Pomfrey who rides about in a sultan's outhouse that he mistook for a carriage; the above mentioned M'lady Luggertuck; and Luther, her nefarious, plotting son.

As was evident in his previous book, The Strange Case of Origami Yoda, Tom Angleberger has a very funny way with words, great comedic timing, and his silly illustrations will make you smile. Mystery lover or not, if you are looking for a clever, funny, and entertaining book, this is a great choice.