Helgerson, Joseph 1950–

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Helgerson, Joseph 1950–


Born 1950; married; children: one daughter, one son. Education: University of Minnesota, bachelor's degree (American studies).


Home and office—Minneapolis, MN.




Horns and Wrinkles, illustrated by Nicoletta Ceccoli, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 2006.


Joseph Helgerson grew up in Winona, Minnesota, a small town situated close to the Mississippi River. As the author noted in an interview for the Houghton Mifflin Web site, most of his childhood summers were spent "exploring sloughs and backwaters with friends—fishing, lashing rafts together, occasionally filling a corncob pipe with enough rabbit tobacco to turn you a lovely shade of green." The adventures he experienced growing up along the river have inspired the setting of his middle-grade novel Horns and Wrinkles. Set in Blue Wing, Minnesota, Helgerson's story finds twelve-year-old Claire setting out on a quest to learn why the residents of her town are turning to stone and why, even more amazingly, her cousin Duke is slowly being transformed into a rhinoceros. Joined on her journey by Duke, Claire soon finds that the answers to her questions lie within magical realms within the Mississippi River, where the mystical River Trolls and Rock Trolls are feuding.

In Booklist, Shelle Rosenfeld praised the "folksy charm, inventive fantasy, and diverse characters" found within the pages of Helgerson's fiction debut, which features illustrations by award-winning Italian illustrator Nicoletta Ceccoli. Robyn Gioia, reviewing for School Library Journal, wrote that the "tongue-in-cheek humor" in Horns and Wrinkles adds "to the playfully inventive storytelling and [Helgerson's] fast-paced plot."

Biographical and Critical Sources


Booklist, September 1, 2006, Shelle Rosenfeld, review of Horns and Wrinkles, p. 128.

Books, October 22, 2006, Mary Harris Russell, review of Horns and Wrinkles, p. 9.

Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 2006, review of Horns and Wrinkles, p. 842.

Publishers Weekly, September 11, 2006, review of Horns and Wrinkles, p. 55.

School Library Journal, September, 2006, Robyn Gioia, review of Horns and Wrinkles, p. 208.


Houghton Mifflin Web site,http://www.houghtonmifflinbooks.com/ (July 8, 2007), "Joseph Helgerson."

Publishers Weekly Online,http://www.publishersweekly.com/ (December 18, 2006), Barry Lyga, "Flying Starts."