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Publisher: Greenwillow Books, Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers,
Summary: Who is Mark Twain? And What did he do with Samuel Clemens? Even if you know that "mark twain" is a riverboat term, there is still a lot to learn about the man born Samuel Clemens: his fascination with mining and get-rich-quick schemes; his travel to the South Pacific, and his evolution as a journalist. This illustrated biography looks into the adult life of Mark Twain and the life behind the famous stories.
Type of Reading: independent reading
Recommended Age: read together: 10 and up; read yourself: 13 and up
Interest Level: 10 and up
Reading Level: 7.5
Age of Child: Review pending.
Young Reader Reaction: Review pending.
Adult Reader Reaction: This is fascinating reading. The author presents this biography in the same way Sam Clemens studied the Mississippi River: plumb every depth and beware of changes in the current. His unique style shows readers how the events of Twain's life "fed" his stories, all the while using a style that draws out Twain's own words, famous and otherwise.
Pros: This illustrated biography offers fascinating details about Samuel Clemens, aka Mark Twain. Although written for children, adults who remember reading Twain will enjoy this book, as well.
Cons: Although billed for grades 4 to 7, the reading level is middle school (7th grade), and will be more appreciated by older readers.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow. This is a wonderful companion to Twain's stories, but is more suited for a library audience.
Educational Themes: The biography offers great contextual data about the US West in the mid 1800s. Enough to entice readers to learn more. Although Twain's life intercepted the Civil War, there are only a few allusions to it. Readers will also find this to be a great introduction into journalism, both in the history of printing, newspapers and the print trade of the 1800s, and reporters and ethics.
Notes: The Reading Tub, Inc. reviewed an advance reader copy of this book. Flesch-Kincaid reading level 6.9
Literary Categories: Nonfiction - biography, 1800s, US history, young adult, middle grade