Crows & Cards

A Smithsonian Notable Book

for Children, 2009

Three warnings for readers who hate surprises: 1) Beware of slivers; 2) and gamblers; 3) and aces. Zebulon Crabtree found all that out the hard way back in 1849 when his mother and father shipped him off to St. Louis to apprentice with a tanner. Too bad he had serious allergies to fur and advice from his parents.

... a tale that Mark Twain would be proud to call his own.
       School Library Journal

Hilarious, touching and grounded in the American tall-tale tradition, Helgerson's account of Zebulon Crabtree, who falls in with a riverboat gambler in 1849 St. Louis, has all the makings of a classic.

Horns & Wrinkles

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 that something rivery is going on, especially since she's the only one who can help Duke lose his new addition.

Beautifully written and very funny.
       Gregory Maguire, author of Wicked.

A new tall tale with all the hallmarks of a classic.
        San Diego Union-Tribune

A thoroughly believable fantasy.
        Publishers Weekly, starred review

A new Mississippi River fable has been born.
       School Library Journal, starred review