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Children's LiteraturePart of the "Classic Starts" series, this attractive yet inexpensive hardcover volume gives the highlights of Tom Sawyer's adventures. The author does a good job of picking the exciting stories from the original text, such as painting the fence, witnessing Injun Joe's murderous act in the graveyard and the subsequent trial of Muff Potter, whom Injun Joe framed, getting lost in a cave, and finding buried treasure. As in any abridged version, however, the book is abbreviated to the point that it loses the punch of the original and is somewhat disjointed. It is hard to get a feel for the characters and really warm to them, except perhaps Tom. Why there is any connection between Tom and Becky is difficult to see. Despite the lack of characterization, the chapters work well as individual short stories that are plot driven rather than character driven. The black and white sketches are in keeping with the theme and period of the story. The set of open-ended questions at the back of the book are interesting and both point out differences between today's world and nineteenth century Missouri, as well as relate the characters' experiences to young readers today. 2005, Sterling Publishing Co, Ages 8 to 12.