Helga: Out of Hedgelands - Kindle eBook by Rick Johnson

Readers Say:
Quirky. Funny. Sinister. Adventure. Ridiculous, but deadly serious. Hits you hard in the funnies, while turning your mind inside out.


Mom's Choice Award Winner: 9-12 Age Category - Fantasy, Myths & Legends

25 reviews on Amazon and Goodreads (4.5* average)

Reviews suggest that Helga will appeal to fans JRR Tolkien, JK Rowling, and CS Lewis, but the unusual worlds and themes take readers places they will find fresh - definitely a whole new ride.

Helga: Out of Hedgelands is a middle grade fantasy, the first volume in the Wood Cow Chronicles series.

The roots of Helga’s story are found in this excerpt from the first chapter:

Helga spotted Mianney Mpanyo among the crowd; her two pet lizards perched on her shoulder. A tough and wild-eyed River Cat, Mianney lived alone in a shack perched high on poles in the Deep Springs River. Thought to be half savage, with strange-smelling smokes always drifting from her cabin, some avoided Mianney. But despite her fierce appearance and hermit-like ways, many called her a healer. To Helga she was a savior. Seven years before, Mianney had wakened in the middle of the night to the loud shouts of two Trapper Dogs. They had found Helga, sobbing and lost, thrashing through the shallows near Mianney’s shack.

For untold ages, the Forever End has been the edge of the world. Impenetrable. Final. The point beyond which there is no passing. But when Helga, a young carpenter’s apprentice, escapes beyond the End while fleeing Wrackshee slavers, her flight unleashes a chain of events that turns age-old worlds on their head. Not until the Forever End is passed can the age-old divisions be healed. 

The unconventional heroine - perhaps the first cow to lead a heroic quest - and a troupe of other oddball characters embark on a dangerous journey beyond impenetrable truths and prejudices to discover where they could not go - and why. 

In a climactic race against time, Helga bends ‘reality’ to thwart a death sentence, turn the tables on the insidious WooZan, and win a reunion with family she barely knew. Time and again, Helga and her eccentric comrades overcome ominous tyrants and black-hearted slavers, not by battling to the last beast standing, but by being the first beast to think differently.
My many years of direct work with middle graders have taught me that they are attracted to unexpected, quirky stories that also give them something to chew on. 
I am a former professor of literature and creative writing who has professionally published 28 stories for young readers. I have been a member of SCBWI since 2003.