Parents' Guide to

The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine

By Jan Carr, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Found Mark Twain fairy tale made vibrantly new and classic.

The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 5+

Based on 1 parent review

age 5+

Mark Twain surprisingly lives

More than a surprise, Phil Stead embodies the spirit of Twain so effortlessly that you are sure they are genetically “ entwained”. Erin Stead’s illustrations so perfectly capture and enhance this timeless and quirky fairy tale. I wanted to join in on the journey and talk to the characters and luxuriate in their beauty in words and art. A tale for all ages, Purloining will appeal as a fable for young children and as an exploration of complex human emotions for adults.Quite a feat. With almost a Kurt Vonnegut sensibility, “The Purloining of Prince Oleomargerine “ will likely become a classic in children’s literature.

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1):
Kids say: Not yet rated

Mark Twain is a national treasure, and it's a happy day when his old work finds new life thanks to a star author-illustrator team. The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine is a magical mixture of old and new. Co-author Philip C. Stead has done the near impossible, turning Twain's extensive notes for a kids' story into a fresh and modern classic. Twain's work (The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Prince and the Pauper) is dense, and Stead opens it up. The book is formatted much like a picture book, liberally illustrated, with some blocks of text isolated. Stead preserves the classic style, sometimes addressing the reader directly, as well as Twain's wry eye, filtering it through a modern lens. For instance, our forefathers "first burgled this land from its Original Citizens." He conceives of the task as a conversation between himself and Twain, interspersing the story with their fictional discussion about the story, and somehow, against all reason, this works beautifully.

The illustrations by Erin E. Stead are lush and gorgeous. Her animals are charming, her portraits of faces arresting, and her palette is subdued and calming. The main character is a boy of color. There's lots of white space, and some of the story is communicated via the art; for instance, we see that the kind old woman has fairy wings. This book feels like a beautiful, extended picture book and would be treasured in any home library.

Book Details

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