book review

Horten’s Miraculous Mechanisms Book Jump Adventure

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I love Stuart’s Dad the best. His vocabulary was hilarious and made reading Horten’s Miraculous Mechanisms so fun!”

—Emily B., age 11


Horten’s Miraculous Mechanisms by Lissa Evans is known around the hallowed halls of Jump into a Book as “The grocery store book.” No kidding ! I was grocery shopping at my local super-market when this cute little book with gizmos on the cover was sitting on top of some tomato sauce jars. Also on the cover was a 25% off sticker and the words Magic, Mystery, & Adventure. Needless to say this little book came home with me and I’m so glad it did.

Ten year old Stuart stumbles on a note daring him to find his great-uncle’s hidden workshop full of wonderful mechanisms, trickery, and magic.


“I have to go away, and I may not be able to get back. If I don’t return, then my workshop and all it contains is yours if you can find it- then you’re the right sort of boy to have it.


Your Uncle Tony

P.S. Start in the telephone booth on Main Street.

Enter a wonderful world filled with real magic, mystery, and danger.

As if being small and having S. Horten as his name isn’t bad enough, now 10-year-old Stuart is forced to move far away from all his friends.But on his very first day in his new home, Stuart’s swept up in an extraordinary adventure: the quest to find his great-uncle Tony–a famous magician who literally disappeared off the face of the earth–and Tony’s marvelous, long-lost workshop. Along the way, Stuart reluctantly accepts help from the annoying triplets next door… and encounters trouble from another magician who’s also desperate to get hold of Tony’s treasures.

This, sets young Stuart off on an adventure of a lifetime.


Something To Do:

Anagrams: Check out this cool Anagram Generator.  Did you know A Jumbo Pink Too is an Anagram for Jump Into a Book? Or Oak Bum Join Top…..or Puma Job Oink To..ok..I’m done now.

It’s time for a little preambulatory anagram treasure hunt.


n. 1. A walking or going before; precedence.
2. A preamble.

For this game you will need to think fast, play together but mostly have a lot of fun. You will need your collective brain power to solve the anagram clues for this one.

You will be divided up into two groups. If there are a large number of you, go ahead and divide up into three groups. This treasure hunt can be played indoors or for our purposes, perambulation, we are going house to house in the neighborhood. Of course you will only go to houses which are being included in the treasure hunt.

The house everyone meets at to start the treasure hunt is known as the Main house or the Host House. How do you know which houses you’ll be going to?  A group of you will be making a treasure hunt map and marking the houses with numbers 1 through 8.

The host or hostess at the Main House will give each team a card with the clue on it.

Once you’ve figured out the clue, go to house number 2 on the treasure hunt map to find the next clue placed on the thing or place you’ve just decoded.

Once you’ve solved the clue at house number 2, go to house number 3 and so on.

The Clues:

Clue # 1: Mold me shape me but don’t leave me out. Here’s the unscrambled answer but please remember to just put the anagram on the clue card. Ployadh (Play doh)

Clue #2: If you were soggy and wet like me you would cry. I went here to get dry. clerestoryhd ( clothes dryer)

Clue #3: If you push all my buttons and use me to call I can reach really far but I’m  not very tall. phenetole(telephone)

Clue #4: It isn’t freezing but might be very cold. Don’t stand with the door open, everyone is told . frogeaterirr (Refrigerator)

Clue #5: My name isn’t frosty but he would like it in here. He would be all nice and comfy, with nothing to fear.  rfzeere (freezer)

Clue # 6: I have keys but I don’t open a door. You can use me for files, info,games, and more.  crumpeto (computer)

Clue #7: Have found a home for goldfish that are never wet. You all love to eat them and you don’t need a net.  shacklefords crig (goldfish crackers)

Clue #8: You can use me to be a little bit taller, People who use me are certainly smaller .  Lotos (Stool)

This is the last clue. On top leave the Magic Box for the first team who finds it and scattered goodies of some kind around for those who didn’t get there in time.

How To Make A Magic Box


  • Prefab square box with lid.
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • 12 x 12 inch scrap-book paper in a variety of colors
  • Scrap-book 3-d stickers
  • Florist wire
  • Glue dots

READY? Let’s begin (see photos below if you are unsure of the finished product):

  1. Start with a prefab box
  2. Cut down each corner of the box from top to bottom.
  3. Bring down the sides, lie flat.
  4.  Take the lid off the box and place it aside.
  5. Put flat box on a 12 x 12 inch piece of scrap-book paper.
  6. Trace around the open box.
  7. Make 3/4 inch extensions around the box.
  8. Trace around the laid out box for the inside piece.
  9. Cut out pieces from scrap-book paper.
  10. Center the box onto the outside piece.
  11. Place glue dots on the reverse side of the outside paper.
  12. Lay down the outside paper and press.
  13. Gently fold up the box sides to make sure they move easily.
  14. Cut all the corners on the piece of paper before gluing into place.
  15. Fold up each side onto each section of the box and glue dot into place. Work each section of the box until all the sides have been glued.
  16. Take the interior piece and turn it over. Glue dot in straight rows from top to bottom.
  17. Place the interior place on the inside of the box, covering the folded flaps from the exterior piece of paper.
  18. For the lid, Do Not Slit the Sides.
  19. Trace the outside of the box. Cut to fit the interior top lid.
  20. Glue into place.
  21. Wrap the outside of the lid like a gift.
  22. On the inside of the box. Wrap the florist wire around a pencil to make little springs.
  23. Attach the stickers to the springs and glue dot into place inside the box.
  24. Make sure you have something on each inside panel of the box.
  25. Fold up your box and put the lid on.

You’ve now completed your Magic Box and what a surprise the person who receives it will get!! I always put a little message or riddle on the inside and have lots of interesting things to catch the person’s attention.
NOW, all this decoding and sleuthing made Stuart a hungry boy in the story. So let’s make some of…..

The Best Mushroom Pizza Ever !!!!

Remember how Stuart made the excuse to go over to the triplets to eat mushroom pizza? We couldn’t resist. We love mushroom pizza and we’re sure you will too.

  • Deep-Dish Pizza Dough
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped green pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) shredded reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese
  • 3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded provolone cheese

Prepare Deep-Dish Pizza Dough, and set aside.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add pepper, onion, and garlic, and sauté 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, oregano, and salt; sauté 3 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat; cool.

Spread half of tomatoes over each prepared crust, and top each with half of vegetable mixture. Sprinkle Monterey Jack cheese and provolone cheese evenly over pizzas.

Bake at 475° for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375°, and bake 15 additional minutes. Cut each pizza into 8 wedges.

Cooking Light Five Star Recipes, Cooking Light 

2 thoughts on “Horten’s Miraculous Mechanisms Book Jump Adventure

  1. What a fabulously rich post! I too enjoyed this book (though it’s published with a different title here in the UK – Small Change for Stuart), and your activities look like a lot of fun.

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