The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

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by Mark Twain

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Mischief is Tom Sawyer's middle name. There is nothing he likes better than playing hookey from school, messing about on the Mississippi with his best friend, the hobo Huckleberry Finn, or wooing the elusive beauty Becky Thatcher. Lazy and reckless, he is a menace to his Aunt Polly - 'Tom, I've a notion to skin you alive' - an embarrassment to his teachers and the…  See more details below


Mischief is Tom Sawyer's middle name. There is nothing he likes better than playing hookey from school, messing about on the Mississippi with his best friend, the hobo Huckleberry Finn, or wooing the elusive beauty Becky Thatcher. Lazy and reckless, he is a menace to his Aunt Polly - 'Tom, I've a notion to skin you alive' - an embarrassment to his teachers and the envy of his peers. But there is method in his badness. He exhibits all the cunning of a magpie when hatching an elaborate scheme to avoid whitewashing a fence, and an adventure downriver with Huck and Joe Harper plunges the little town of St Petersburg into such an outpouring of grief that Tom is spared the belt on his return. But the innocent adventures end suddenly when Tom and Huck witness a murder in the graveyard. Should they tell of what they saw under the moonlight, when Injun Joe slipped the bloodstained knife into the hands of Muff Potter? Or should they 'keep mum' and risk letting an innocent man go to the gallows?

'Most of the adventures recorded in this book really occurred; one or two were experiences of my own, the rest of those boys who were schoolmates of mine', Mark Twain wrote in the preface to the original 1876 edition. Inspired by his upbringing in a small township on the Mississippi, and written 'to remind adults of what they once were themselves, and of how they felt and thought and talked, and what queer enterprises they sometimes engaged in', Twain's hymn to childhood and the great outdoors remains a classic account of boys on the loose in frontier-era America.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Broadview's new edition of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer offers students access not only to the text of Mark Twain's classic 1876 novel but to the 19th-century world that inspired it. Lucy Rollin's excellent introduction traces Sam Clemens's path from Hannibal to Hartford, where his childhood memories came to life in the form of an oddly disjointed, episodic, and irresistible tale of romance and adventure. The edition's four appendices offer an even more detailed picture of the novel's cultural context, including rich excerpts from rival 'boy books' by Thomas Bailey Aldrich, Charles Dudley Warner, and William Dean Howells, as well as primary material of the sort a small-town American child might have grown up with in the 1840s. This volume is a magnificent teaching tool, which offers even experienced readers of Mark Twain a compelling reason to return to his first important work of fiction." - Henry B. Wonham, University of Oregon
Children's Literature - Leona Illig
Mark Twain’s literary reputation has perhaps never been higher than it is today, and his classic book about Tom Sawyer has stood the test of time. The main plot is well-known: after witnessing a murder, Tom must decide whether to tell the truth and put himself in danger, or keep quiet and hope for the best. The book has been adapted for movies, television, and more; this graphic novel is only the latest version of its many incarnations. The basic plot, the main characters, and some of the language have been retained. But the adapters often need to stop the action to summarize the plot. There is almost no character development or wit, and little humor, and it is doubtful if the reader will get a sense of who Tom is. The illustrations seem incongruous. All of the characters appear to be older than they are, and most of them—even Tom and Becky—seem to sport sinister scowls or sullen smirks. The book contains a short section entitled “About Mark Twain” which is inadequate, and a glossary that is puzzling in its selection of words. There are also sections on reading and writing questions aligned with Common Core. On the back of the book the publisher provides a quote stating that this book could provide a gateway “to otherwise daunting works of literature” and that it will “attract reluctant readers.” It is probably safe to say that this graphic novel will probably bore reluctant readers and discourage them from reading the original. A better way to introduce reluctant readers to Tom is to have them watch one of the film versions, or, better yet, have them take turns reading the original out loud. At the price of this book, a lot of better, cheaper alternatives are available. Reviewer: Leona Illig; Ages 10 to 14.

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Product Details

Sterling Children's Books
Publication date:
Easy Reader Classics
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
4 - 6 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One


No answer.


No answer.

"What's gone with that boy, I wonder? You TOM!"

No answer.

The old lady puffed her spectacles down and looked over them and about the room; then she put them up and looked out under them. She seldom or never looked through them for so small a thing as a boy; they were her state pair, the pride of her heart, and were built for "style," not service-she could have seen through a pair of stovelids just as well. She looked perplexed for a moment, and then said, not fiercely, but still loud enough for the furniture to hear:

"Well, I lay if I get hold of you I'll--"

She did not finish, for by this time she was bending down and punching under the bed with the broom, and so she needed breath to punctuate the punches with. She resurrected nothing but the cat.

"I never did see the beat of that boy!"

She went to the open door and stood in it and looked out among the tomato vines and "jimpson" weeds that constituted the garden. No Tom. So she lifted up her voice at an angle calculated for distance and shouted:

"Y-o-u-u Tom!"

There was a slight noise behind her and she turned just in time to seize a small boy by the slack of his roundabout and arrest his flight.

"There! I might 'a' thought of that closet. What you been doing in there?"


"Nothing! Look at your hands. And look at your mouth. What is that truck?"

"I don't know, aunt."

"Well, I know. It's jam-that's what it is. Forty times I've said if you didn't let that jam alone I'd skin you. Hand me that switch."

The switch hovered in theair-the peril was desperate

"My! Look behind you, aunt!"

The old lady whirled round, and snatched her skirts out of danger, The lad fled on the instant, scrambled up the high board fence, and disappeared over it.

His aunt Polly stood surprised a moment, and then broke into a gentle laugh.

"Hang the boy, can't I never learn anything? Ain't he played me tricks enough like that for me to be looking out for him by this time? But old fools is the biggest fools there is. Can't learn an old dog new tricks, as the saying is, But my goodness, he never plays them alike, two days, and how is a body to know what's coming? He 'pears to know just how long he can torment me before I get my dander up, and he knows if he can make out to put me off for a minute or make me laugh, it's A down again and I can't hit him a tick. I ain't doing my duty by that boy, and that's the Lord's truth, goodness knows, Spare the rod and spile the child, as the Good Book says. I'm a laying up sin and suffering for us both, I know. He's full of the Old Scratch, but laws-a-me! he's my own dead sister's boy, poor thing, and I ain't got the heart to lash him, somehow. Every time I let him off, my conscience does hurt me so, and every time I hit him my old heart breaks. Well-a-well, man that is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble, as the Scripture says, and I reckon it's so. He'll play hockey this evening,* and I'll just be obleeged to make him work, to-morrow, to punish him, It's mighty hard to make him work Saturdays, when all the boys is having holiday, but he hates work more than he hates anything else, and Ive got to do some of my duty by him, or I'll be the ruination of the child."

Tom did play hookey, and he had a very good time. He got back home barely in season to help Jim, the small colored boy, saw next-day's wood and split the kindlings before supper-at least he was there in time to tell his adventures to Jim while Jim did three-fourths of the work. Torn's younger brother (or rather half-brother) Sid was already through with his part of the work (picking up chips), for he was a quiet boy, and he had no adventurous, troublesome ways.

While Tom was eating his supper, and stealing sugar as opportunity offered, Aunt Polly asked him questions that were full of guile, and very deep-for she wanted to trap him into damaging revealments. Like many other simple-hearted souls, it was her pet vanity to believe she was endowed with a talent for dark and mysterious diplomacy, and she loved to contemplate her most transparent devices as marvels of tow cunning. Said she:

"Tom, it was middling warm in school, warn't it?"


"Powerful warm, warn't it?"


"Didn't you want to go in a-swimming, Tom?"

A bit of a scare shot through Tom--a touch of uncomfortable suspicion. He searched Aunt Polly's face, but it told him nothing. So he said:

"No'm--well, not very much."

The old lady reached out her hand and felt Tom's shirt, and said:

"But you ain't too warm now, though." And it flattered her to reflect that she had discovered that the shirt was dry without anybody knowing that that was what she had in her mind. But in spite of tier, Tom knew where the wind lay, now. So he forestalled what might be the next move:

"Some of us pumped on our hcads--mine's damp yet. Sec?"

Aunt Polly was vexed to think she had overlooked that bit of circumstantial evidence, and missed a trickThen she had a new inspiration:

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What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"Twain had a greater effect than any other writer on the evolution of American prose."

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The Adventures of Tom Sawyer 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 229 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is about two boys named Tom and Huck. They heard about a treasure buried somewhere. They are trying to find out where the treasure is buried but they have a little problem--other people are looking for the treasure too. Injun Joe is also looking for the treasure and he is the meanest person that no one likes. One night Tom and Huck were walking in a grave yard and saw Injun Joe kill a guy. So now Tom and Huck are scared of Injun Joe. Then Tom ran away to an island because he wanted to try living on his own. Everyone in the town thought Tom and Huck died, but they didn¿t. On the day of their funeral they showed up and surprised all the grown ups. Do they find the treasure? Read and find out. This was an easy book to read because it was short. I liked this book because it had a lot of adventure.
Mark Strack More than 1 year ago
I read this book to my 6 year old daughter and she loved it. Keep in mind it's been rewritten and shortened up for a younger audience, but it was a great way to get her interested in the classics. We've read many from the series and have not once been disappointed.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a great read and I would HIGHLY recomend it over 99% of books. I started reading this because my school was doing Tom Sawyer as the play and I got the roll of Huckleberry Finn. Tom Sawyer Totally ROCKS!!!!!!!!!!!
mistressofdark More than 1 year ago
I¿ve been meaning for a long time to read this book, I had heard so many praises about it that I just had to read it and see for myself what the fuss was about. Well, it captured my interest and hooked me from the very first page; it definitely deserves being called an all times classic. I loved its timeless humor and how it often brought a broad smile to my face. I loved the carefree antebellum south rural life it depicted and I often found myself comparing life back in those days and life today. What¿s more, I immediately took a liking to Tom Sawyer and his adventurous spirit, I admired his impulsiveness and cleverness and his bravery. He made me want to get up and have an adventure of my own. Finally, it got me thinking and everyone just seemed much more happy back then. The children were more innocent and looked forward to having fun and playing outside with their friends; Today¿s children prefer to stay indoors and play video-games or watch TV, they seem to have lost their innocence, the very thing that makes them a children. It¿s sad in a way and troublesome; it makes you wonder about the children of the future.
ironman55513 More than 1 year ago
I thought it was a compelling story of romance and mischief. I loved this book so much. I'm so glad I read this book. Tom Sawyer resembles a lot of kids out there and I think it would be a great book for kids. This book had amazing life lessons in it. Mark Twain is a great author he has such a way of telling storys. This book was so amazing I hope you will get a chance to read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome book, all you people should get it. :-)
RottieLover More than 1 year ago
Out of my experience of reading this book, I say it is a great book filled with romance, action, filled with lessons for kids, and unpredictable. I read it this year, in fourth grade. And that book made me even more smarter.
Mia Shoquist More than 1 year ago
I luv this book so much...Mark Twain did a STUPENDOUS job!!! the only thing i didnt like was that the text was a bit mixed up. HINT: H is the equivalent of li in the book. So when the say,.her lip trembled, it ended up looking like her Hp trembled!! But, otherwise, INCREDIBLE!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Tom sawyer is a very troublesome boy. He skips out on school and he gets himself into alot of trouble. This story follows the adventures of tom sawyer while he lives in the U.S. I thought this book was very good because the author tells the story in an entertaining way. I think this book is a good read for middle to highschool students. -Matteo Abbz
Alex Piacentini More than 1 year ago
only problem is text gets jumbled every so often
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Tom Sawyer For mischievous events, treasure, and thrills, Tom Sawyer is a good book for you. If you would like a nice story that moves at a steady pace then, sorry kid-o's this won't be a piece of the puzzle for you. Mark Twain, the author, has a tendency to jump from story to story its almost as though he has a slight case of ADD, he can never finish one part of the book up before a new portion begins. Often times throughout this book I did judge his writing style but in the end Twain did leave you feeling satisfied with a sense of completion. Also the author has a sarcastic sense of humor and it shows in his writing style that some parts that are just the simplest and ordinary scenes become intricate and "cheesy". Tom is an average boy but has an edge up on being bad. Tom and his best friend Huck (the town drunk) go to the graveyard to get rid of warts. There, they witness Injun Joe in the murder of Doc Robertson. Tom, Huck, and Joe go on many adventures including becoming pirates, what we would know as boy scouts, and even treasure hunters (better known as robbers). Tom getting into trouble, falling in love, and even doing some good make this book a fun read that can be very enjoyable. This book is a classic and I feel it always will be. I defiantly recommend this book for ages 12-1000. Why? Well this book is great and can bring that mischievous youth out of all of us. But, I feel anyone younger than 12 might not understand some of the story, and anyone older should contact a doctor. If you want more adventure you can also read Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn. I give this book 4.1 stars out of 10. B+ Written by, Jeremy Hasselhough
Guest More than 1 year ago
its a sweet book that every one shoul read it may not have proper words but every kid must read this book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Some of the dialect is old though. Hard to read at times. All in all a great book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm reading this at school. So far it's a pretty good book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is la bomb
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I met him yesterday Tom sawyer is a ok person, but he took all of richard minors classes
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Tom is a young trickster and his best friend is the lonely outcast of the town hucklberry fin . The mischif tom falls in love with becky thacher. Tom sawyer is a great book with murder,pirates,romance,mischif,and maby things are not what they seem. Tom and hucklberry better whach out at every corner.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
literarymuseVC More than 1 year ago
Penguin has reissued an edition of the classic novel, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, a tale that never fails to mesmerize and intrigue its readers.   It’s the story of a young Southern boy who’s a “bad boy” in the day when the only books for boys were moral novels of little adventure and minor character flaws.  Tom Sawyer is really the same type of character but his charismatic personality has more spunk than previous young heroes and he’s so much smarter than his peers that he becomes a model of misbehavior and adventure to them all. A fascinating introduction – don’t skip it at all – compares this novel by the famous Mark Twain to the Harry Potter novel by J. K. Rowling.  Tom and Harry are said to possess the common characteristics as they “struggle against adversity, fight against evil, and are misunderstood but nevertheless emerge triumphantly in the end.” There are other similarities but that awaits the reader’s exploration. Tom will fall in love with Becky, see a murder, lead a search for treasure, is believed to be dead, and becomes rich but unchanged from the rambunctious boy he has always been. One may read this novel on many levels, and this new Penguin Classic edition is easy but accurate reading of the novel Mark Twain composed. The first level is that of a simple boy who rebels against the morality-ridden upbringing of Southern families, the necessary but boring elementary school lessons, and the mundane quality of everyday life that was just chores and lessons galore.  Twain on the other hand, was a master of satire, and we may read his tale as a scathing satire of church goers’ hypocrisy (Tom’s Aunt Polly, albeit a good woman at heart), the stereotyping of people in more need of help (albeit unwanted) such as Tom’s friend Huck’s alcoholic father, the false judgments of society based on image rather than actual acts (albeit in secret) as in the cave and treasure incident involving pirates and Injuns. Reread this new edition and compare it with the thrills, magic and adventures of the Harry Potter stories.  Read it as a girls’ book and not just as the boys’ book it was believed to be years ago.  Read it and enjoy the daily unexpected excitement of friends meeting Tom Sawyer, the “safe bad boy!”
Natalie_Carlo More than 1 year ago
Full of funny and sweet moments as Tom has unforgettable adventures with Huck. It is so awesome and I hope everybody will have the chance to read a book so wonderful as this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book because it is a fun,loving and an overjoy CLASSIC
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Considered proper reading for children or ladies as being coarse and its humor common and irreligious. Right uo there with the "