Nineteenth-century America and the world of Samuel L. Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, come to life as children journey back in time with this history- and literature-laden activity book. The comprehensive biographical information explores Mark Twain as a multi-talented man of his times, from his childhood in the rough-and-tumble West of Missouri to his many careers—steamboat pilot, printer, miner, inventor, world traveler, businessman, lecturer, newspaper reporter, and most important, author—and how these ...
Nineteenth-century America and the world of Samuel L. Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, come to life as children journey back in time with this history- and literature-laden activity book. The comprehensive biographical information explores Mark Twain as a multi-talented man of his times, from his childhood in the rough-and-tumble West of Missouri to his many careers—steamboat pilot, printer, miner, inventor, world traveler, businessman, lecturer, newspaper reporter, and most important, author—and how these experiences influenced his writing. Twain-inspired activities include making printer’s type, building a model paddlewheel boat, unmasking a hoax, inventing new words, cooking cornpone, planning a newspaper, observing people, and writing maxims. An extensive resource section offers information on Twain’s classics, such as Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, as well as a listing of recommended web sites to explore.
"Appealing . . . a useful resource for teachers and student researchers." —Children's Literature
A historical account of the famous humorist and author, Mark Twain for Kids: His Life &Times, 21 Activities by R. Kent Rasmussen combines the details of Samuel Clemens's life with craft projects including making printer's type from a raw potato or fashioning a paddlewheel boat using foamboard. Quotations from Twain ("When angry, count four; when very angry, swear"), a comparison of Tom Sawyer and Harry Potter, vintage illustrations and photos enliven this thorough text. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Young readers and adults alike will enjoy learning just how many of Tom Sawyer's adventures were once Sam Clemens' adventures — and just the sheer number of Clemens' adventures is mind-boggling. At a time when most people lived and died in the same town, doing the same work all their lives, Clemens worked as a typesetter, a fully-licensed steamboat pilot on the Mississippi, a gold miner in the west, a newspaper reporter, and a storyteller — all before he was 30 years old. Later he would travel the world to lecture and gather material for more stories. He was famous and well-paid in his own lifetime, though he met with great sorrow by outliving his wife and three of his four children. This biography is written in short sections filled with strange or funny anecdotes, illustrations from Clemens' books and marvelous large photos of Clemens, his family, and his homes. The book bogs down toward the end when Clemens is writing more and moving around less, but there are plenty of hands-on activities — carving a potato to learn how old-fashioned type was set, an exercise in posing for a 19th century photographer to understand why everyone in these old photos looks so serious, an exercise in capturing the nuances of real human speech as Clemens does so well, and instructions for making a slate or a scrapbook (Clemens actually patented and sold a self-pasting scrapbook). There is plenty of fascinating, excellent information for young people to read or teachers to share about this most famous of American humorists, even the origin of his pen name Mark Twain. It was a term used by Mississippi steamboatmen to indicate the river was at "mark twain" or two fathoms, the dividing pointbetween safe and dangerously shallow water. 2004, Chicago Review Press, Ages 10 up.
An unusual activity book, this inviting volume draws on Mark Twain's most popular scenarios for creative ideas that range from making a Mississippi sternwheeler to cooking Missouri-fried corn pone. Commentary on Pudd'nhead Wilson refers to Twain's introduction of fingerprinting to detective lore. A simple experiment shows readers how to collect fingerprints on plain glass for study under magnification and how to fashion a plumb line out of string and a fishing lead. Photos identify important people in Twain's life, including his mother, his four daughters, and Horace Bixby, the pilot who introduced him to navigation on the ever-shifting Mississippi River. Peripheral commentary explains Twain's family life, his involvement with the Civil War, friendship with Helen Keller, construction of a home in Hartford, Connecticut, and his connection with a neighbor, author Harriet Beecher Stowe. More sophisticated activities include careful reading of an anecdote to reveal a hoax, composing aphorisms, and testing male and female subjects to study gendered methods of threading a needle. Less imaginative are instructions for writing a travel letter, collecting superstitions and idiomatic speech, critiquing a movie, and making a scrapbook. KLIATT Codes: J—Recommended for junior high school students. 2004, Chicago Review Press, dist. by Independent Publishers Group, 146p. illus. bibliog. index., Ages 12 to 15.
—Mary Ellen Snodgrass
School Library Journal
Gr 4-8-This book brings together the intrigue and excitement that were part of Samuel Clemens's life, captures his eccentricities, highlights his strengths, and displays his frailties. The times in which he lived are expertly described; for example, the ramifications of the Civil War and the effects of the gold rush become part of the writer's story. The parallels between Clemens's life and the experiences of the characters in many of his books are also made clear. Rasmussen's folksy, familiar style of writing demonstrates a strong comfort level with his subject and an accurate understanding of his audience. Woven throughout the narrative are activities that range from elaborate, time-consuming projects such as making printer's type with potato cutouts to easy, almost simplistic ideas such as being a detective simply by watching people and then making notes about them. Abundant sidebars, illustrations, and photographs all provide interesting tangents for readers to explore. While libraries are chock-full of books about Clemens, some even by Rasmussen, this one will be appealing to many young readers.-Jody Kopple, Shady Hill School, Cambridge, MA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.