The Adventures of Mark Twain by Huckleberry Finn

Robert Burleigh, illus. by Barry Blitt, S&S/Atheneum, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-0-689-83041-9
This playful biography of Mark Twain—narrated by his most famous of characters, Huckleberry Finn—begs to be read aloud with a backwoods twang. "Him bein' an author, you might 'spect he went to one of them fancy-pants schools people brag about. Heck, Sam hardly went to school at all! He growed up bein' poor, same as me, in a dusty village," declares Huck. Blitt (What's the Weather Inside?) contributes whimsical caricatures in pen, ink, and watercolor; a cherubic and ruddy-faced Huck, with a straw hat and a mop of hair over one eye, appears in each spread, appearing to play the dichotomous role of peeping tom and guardian angel (in one scene, he sprawls on a light fixture watching Twain write Huck's adventures as small cartoon figures of the characters paddle a raft right across Twain's pages). Enlarged and varied typefaces, used for emphasis and headings, may initially distract, but, as with the dialect, add to the delight. Burleigh's (Good-bye, Sheepie) book highlights the life of a great American author and is sure to whet readers' appetites for more about its straight-talking narrator. Ages 7–10. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/14/2011
Release date: 03/01/2011
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