Tom Angleberger’s farcical middle-grade mystery begins when M’Lady Luggertuck loosens her corset (it has never been loosened before!), thereby setting off a chain of events in which all the strict rules of Smugwick Manor are abandoned. When, as a result of “the Loosening,” the precious family heirloom, the Luggertuck Lump (quite literally a lump), goes missing, the Luggertucks look for someone to blame. Is it Horton Halfpott, the good-natured but lowly kitchen boy who can’t tell a lie? Or one of the many colorful cast members in this romp of a mystery that combines supreme silliness with a tale of a young hero with heart.
Families are unique and have different expectations for the books they choose to read. The following is a list of concepts included in this book that some parents may wish to seek out or avoid.
Violence: The cook hit Horton with a spoon for dropping some wood. Horton is told to rewash the silverware or Luther will “have [him] whipped.”
Pirates kidnapped Bo Peep and make Luther walk the plank into the mire—they thought he died, but they found him alive the next morning.
Note that this list is not exhaustive and there may be concepts in this book that are not included or have been insufficiently or incorrectly detailed here.
Ask your child if they know what a protagonist is (the leading character/hero in a story). Ask who the protagonist is in Horton Halfpott and why—what traits does the hero have (e.g. honesty, determination, standing up for what’s right, being a friend)?