One-Minute Book Reviews

April 17, 2011

‘The Extraordinary Mark Twain (According to Susy)’ – Life With Father

Filed under: Children's Books — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 5:24 pm
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Mark Twain said his daughter used “no sandpaper” on him

The Extraordinary Mark Twain (According to Susy). By Barbara Kerley. Illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham. Scholastic, 48 pp., $17.99. Ages: 4–8.

By Janice Harayda

In this picture-book biography Barbara Kerley takes a humorous approach as she tries to prove that Mark Twain was more than a humorist. Children may not be persuaded, but this crowd-pleaser has other virtues, including larger-than-life digital art and 11 folio insets with lines from 13-year-old Susy Clemens’s account of her father’s life, which inspired the volume.

Best line: Twain on the book by his daughter that inspired The Extraordinary Mark Twain (According to Susy): “This is a frank biographer and an honest one; she uses no sandpaper on me.”

Worst line: “The animals on the farm could not care less that Papa was a world-famous author …” (Kerley).

Recommendation: The Extraordinary Mark Twain (According to Susy) isn’t for children who are old enough to debate the moral questions raised by the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn but for those young enough to enjoy lifting the letters out of the envelopes in “The Jolly Postman” series.

Published: January 2010

Furthermore: The Extraordinary Mark Twain (According to Susy) appeared on the Publishers Weekly and School Library Journal lists of the best books of 2010.

About the author and illustrator: Kerley and Fotheringham collaborated on What to Do About Alice?, a picture-book biography of Alice Roosevelt Longworth.

You can also follow Jan (@janiceharayda) on Twitter at www.twitter.com/janiceharayda.

© 2011 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.

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