Do you love Minnesota? Especially the mighty Mississippi? Have you ever heard of Blue Wing Minnesota? Probably not since it is a fictional setting in a great book called Horns and Wrinkles written by Joe Helgerson.
Helgerson grew up in southern Minnesota and uses places and ideas from his childhood to create a fantastical story with trolls and fairies and spells. Beautiful illustrations by Nicoletta Ceccoli bring the lying cricket and boy that grows a horn to life.
Claire is busy. Not only is she trying to find a stone feather to turn her Grandpa back from stone and help her bully cousin get rid of his horn by doing a genuine act of kindness (which she doesn’t think he is capable of) but now she is helping 3 river trolls. The trolls are cursed. “If a river troll doesn’t bring Bodacious Deepthink a shooting star before his firstborn is hatched, he gets turned into a human.” Claire isn’t even sure if she thinks that is much of a curse in the first place.
While at the end of the book it does suggest a drive down highway 61 to a fictional city you will not find, I wouldn’t let that stop you from taking a real drive down highway 61 to cities like Red Wing, Wabasha and Winona. Skip your weekend trip to Duluth and turn south this time. Not only are there beautiful bluffs for hiking, piers into Lake Pepin (the widest part of the Mississippi) and an eagle center but after reading the book you can also keep an eye out for blue wing fairies and river trolls and maybe a store with a door that reads:
Coins, Gems, Runestones,
Riddles & Other Imponderables
Wing Repair on Occasion