A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Told in the voice of Huck Finn, this book presents basic information about Mark Twain, his most famous books and characters -- and a few remarkable facts, such as the fact that
Halley's Comet passed overhead the year Twain was born and 75 years later, in the year he died. This book's unusual storytelling style could lead to a discussion of regional dialects and creative spelling. Kids might even enjoy presenting this book as a classroom play.
This book educates readers about Mark Twain and Huck Finn, and will get them thinking about the ways these characters lived their lives: learning, speaking out against injustice, like slavery and corrupt politics -- and spinning stories with long-lasting impact.
Positive Role Models
Both Mark Twain and Huck Finn were adventurous characters who loved the outdoors, especially the Mississippi River. They were life-long learners (though they preferred practical learning over the book kind), and lived their values. Most of all, they believed in telling the truth...except for the few "stretchers" to spice up a story.
Violence & Scariness
Mark Twain enlisted to fight in the Civil War for about 2 weeks. It is mentioned that he left because he did not want to kill or be killed.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this biography of one of America's most famous authors, Mark Twain, is told in the voice of one of his most famous characters, Huck Finn. Folksy language, imperfect grammar, and creative spellings are all part of that voice. This unusual style makes the book fun to read aloud but may prove confusing to younger readers who tackle this book on their own. This may be a better fit for mid-grade readers who may have heard of the author and his character. This book presents basic information about Mark Twain, his most famous
books and characters -- and a few remarkable facts, such as the fact
Halley's Comet passed overhead the year Twain was born and 75 years
later, in the year he died. An editor's note in the back presents a timeline of further biographical details of Twain's life.
Is It Any Good?
By hearing Twain's story told through the voice of his most famous character,
kids can learn about the lauded author -- and Huckleberry Finn -- in a way that's
both fun and dramatic. The clever wordplay may confuse younger readers, making this a better read-aloud book for them. Though it's a picture book, it's a better fit for mid-grade readers who may have heard of both of these characters and can make sense of the misspellings and folksy expressions. They're sure to find the clever format and humorous illustrations engaging and appreciate the timeline that puts biographical details in context.
Though it only provides basic biographical information, this book makes the worlds of Huck Finn and Mark Twain seem very inviting. Kids will likely want to read more about both of them.
Watercolors in pastel browns, blues, and greens create the backdrop for cartoon-like pen and ink sketches that look a bit like caricatures from the New Yorker magazine. While the illustrations may lack boldness of color found in most children's books, they are cleverly detailed and expressive. Also, print size is varied to show parts of paragraphs that should be read with greater emphasis.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.