Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

River Boy: The Story of Mark Twain

River Boy: The Story of Mark Twain

William Anderson
Illustrator:  Dan Andreasen 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 6 to 10
HarperCollins, 2003   ISBN: 978-0060284008

He must have been one of the most adventurous (and probably the naughtiest) boy in Hannibal, Missouri. Sam Clemens was always up to something, getting into trouble, and trying to find ways to get out of it. Those who familiar with famous books might think that Sam sounds very much like another boy who lived in a town on the shores of the Mississippi, that most loveable of scamps, Tom Sawyer. When Sam grew up to become the world famous writer who went by the name of Mark Twain, he used many of his childhood experiences in Hannibal to create wonderful stories and characters, the two most famous of these being Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.

Sam Clemens learned when he was still quite young that he had a talent for writing and worked as a journalist, writer and printer in many cities across the country. He also succumbed to his old love for the Mississippi and was a river pilot for some time. It was this last experience which gave him the idea for his nom de plume "mark twain" which was a river boat term used on the Mississippi boats all the time.

Sam Clemens was soon very popular both for writing and his for his wonderful, and very funny, lecturing style. Sam gave hundreds of lectures all over the world and was much loved by people in many countries. He was the kind of man who drew other to him, who gave of himself, who made people laugh, and who will always be remembered as the man in the white suit who told wonderful stories.

William Anderson paints a rich and thoughtful picture of Mark Twain which is supported very well by the lush and warm artwork of Dan Andreasen.