Wrestling with Tom Sawyer [NOOK Book]


There’s no one under the sun like Tom Sawyer!

Preparations are underway for the monthly party, “Bare Feet and a Straw Hat Never Hurt anybody, an evening with Mark Twain.” The gang agrees that Tom Sawyer should be brought into the Real World. He’d be a refreshing change after Captain Ahab and Lady D’ Winter—much easier to handle. However, upon arrival, Tom immediately picks a fight with Walter, falls in love with Ophelia, and continuously attempts to one-up Linus. When Ophelia is...

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Wrestling with Tom Sawyer

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There’s no one under the sun like Tom Sawyer!

Preparations are underway for the monthly party, “Bare Feet and a Straw Hat Never Hurt anybody, an evening with Mark Twain.” The gang agrees that Tom Sawyer should be brought into the Real World. He’d be a refreshing change after Captain Ahab and Lady D’ Winter—much easier to handle. However, upon arrival, Tom immediately picks a fight with Walter, falls in love with Ophelia, and continuously attempts to one-up Linus. When Ophelia is kidnapped, Tom is determined to save her, just like he did with Becky Thatcher. But the clock is ticking…

Praise for the series

“A Fantasy steeped in classic literature … narrator Bartholomew Inkster brings Lemony Snicket-like irony to frame the story…. References to literature throughout make this a feast for middle-grade book lovers. Kids who like quirky adventure stories with idiosyncratic characters will enjoy a simpler kind of fun.”

Publishers Weekly

Praise for Saving Moby Dick

“… Generously infused with animating elements of mystery, romance and comedy—plus a particularly lively and diverse supporting cast of frown-ups.”


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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—In this fast-paced addition to the series, precocious, quirky 12-year-old twins Linus and Ophelia Easterday and their friend Walter embark on an adventure with the enchanted circle, a phenomenon that enables characters from well-known literary works to cross over into the Real World each year at 11:11 p.m. on September 11. The fictitious character can remain here, intermingling with actual people for only 60 hours and then must return to the Book World. Now the twins' uncle is having his monthly literary party with Mark Twain as the theme. Ophelia loves The Adventures of Tom Sawyer so she brings Tom through the enchanted circle to join the trio on a sometimes-humorous roller-coaster ride of an adventure as they try to unlock the mysterious secrets surrounding a tunnel under the Pierce School for Young People. Details about Tom's actual story are interspersed with the plot. Unfortunately, the too-frequent interruptions and asides from the narrator, Bartholomew Inkster, LF (Literary fussbudget), derail the story's flow. Using italics to delineate these musings from the action itself, Samson has Inkster comment on miscellaneous ideas about literature and current mores and values. In spite of this intrusion, readers will find this installment a lot of fun as the trio goes on their search.—Renee Steinberg, formerly at Fieldstone Middle School, Montvale, NJ
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780310740582
  • Publisher: Zonderkidz
  • Publication date: 8/6/2013
  • Series: Enchanted Attic
  • Sold by: Zondervan Publishing
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 192
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • File size: 5 MB

Meet the Author

L.L. Samson lives in Kentucky and has been writing for longer than anyone needs to know. Suffice it to say, L.L. has been reading even longer, loves to do it, and hopes you will too! Chickens, children, and a cat live in Lexington with L.L. and spouse, Will Samson, who writes too. Despite this, it’s difficult to find a pen in the house.

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Read an Excerpt

Wrestling with Tom Sawyer

The Enchanted Attic

By L. L. Samson


Copyright © 2013 L. L. Samson
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-310-74057-5



Some Things Remain Hidden in the Most Obscure Places for an Exceedingly Long Time; Hopefully You Are Not One of Them or Let Us Drop You into the Story Right Away, Shall We?

Linus Easterday, his twin sister Ophelia, and their best friend Walter were as electrified as you would be at the discovery of a secret tunnel in the basement of your school.

It started out as a seemingly regular day. Walter had been savoring his lunch (chicken, noodles, and fresh broccoli beneath a flaky casserole crust), silently thanking God that the school cook was back on duty. Her multipierced appearance may be more suited to life in a traveling circus, but her cooking was utterly heavenly compared to Madrigal Pierce's compulsory concoction (mixture, medley, blend) of canned-food meals.

Yet even the ghastly victuals (dreadful food) were worth the freedoms that summer afforded Walter. And to think, barely four months ago Walter called London home. Now he was venturing to the park at whim, tramping the streets of Kingscross with his friends, and sometimes just lazing on the banks of the Bard River at three in the blazing afternoon, all proving that he had successfully adapted to life in the States. Amazing how quickly a lad can refashion his life, is it not? And Walter needed serious alterations.

Madrigal Pierce (headmistress, chief fundraiser, algebra teacher, and dean of student life at The Pierce School for Young People) stepped up to the microphone at the far end of the students' dining hall as if she owned the place, which she did—and still does. (Thank goodness, especially after the schemes of that wily (smart in a sneaky way) brother of hers.)

She cinched her customary shawl around her shoulders and elevated an index card. The distance from her hand to her face proclaimed a need for reading glasses that she obstinately refused to purchase. "Attention pupils!" she began in her forthright voice. "As promised, notes that have been confiscated during class will be read before the entire school during the lunch hour."

She extracted a folded piece of paper from the pocket of her voluminous brown skirt. (Voluminous, in this case, means the designer employed several yards of fabric which ended up on Madrigal's slight frame.)

"This particular communiqué is from Miss Jane Meyers to Mister Jordon Van Meter," Madrigal said. Then clearing her throat, she read,

"Jane: Someone said you sound like an owl.

"Jordon: Who?"

After a momentary silence in which the students looked at one another questioningly, the lunchroom exploded with riotous laughter. The left corner of Madrigal's habitually pinched lips lifted. Then Ms. Pierce crumpled the piece of notebook paper into a ball and lobbed it over her shoulder. "That's enough of that, then."

Walter, his brown eyes as round as the aforementioned owl's, looked at Linus and Ophelia as if to say, "Who is this woman and what happened to our headmistress?"

Ms. Pierce cleared her throat once more and patted the side of her almost black hair, which was scraped back into a ruthless chignon (bun). "Rumors have been flying around the school about the renovations in the northeast corner of our fair institution." The crisp edge to her voice had returned, like a fringe of frost around a curled brown leaf.

Ahh, thought Walter, there's our Madge.

"These rumors include the discovery of a tunnel hitherto unknown by the faculty and staff. I assure you that while the tunnel is indeed factual, tales of skeletons, buried treasure, a Native American graveyard, and an Olympic-sized swimming pool are utterly fictitious."

Drat, thought Ophelia. She had been hoping that the rumor about the pool was not a rumor at all. Imagine it! The hidden pool would be like something out of Rome with pillars all around, Greek statuary, and fountains spouting at both ends. And it would be heated, of course.

"Furthermore," Ms. Pierce continued, "we've clearly cordoned off the construction zone. Anyone and everyone found inside the confines of the work area will not only lose their town privileges, but will also be assigned punitive work duty."

In other words, no leaving school after 9 P.M. sharp, because you can bet your sweet Aunt Ida's alligator purse that you will be scrubbing the blackened bottoms of pots and pans from after supper until the quiet hours of the late evening for at least a week. When not in class, the students must be in their rooms or the dorm lounges studying or reading quietly. (Or, truth be told, texting each other from across the room.)

The Pierce School for Young People is primarily a boarding school for children of either the once well-heeled (wealthy) who'd fallen on harder times, or for those who had recently accumulated their wealth and were snubbed by the well-heeled. The mixture of "old money" and "new money" worked well enough, but only because Ms. Pierce herself allowed for nothing else. Give people a common adversary, and it's amazing what they'll forget about!

As the students left the dining hall for their fourth-hour classes, Walter pulled Linus and Ophelia aside. "Eleven-thirty at the tunnel entrance?" he asked.

"Yep," said Linus, pulling off his school tie (this was allowed after lunch).

"Do you have torches?" Walter asked, tucking his button-down shirt into his khaki pants and straightening the navy-and-orange striped tie underneath his collar. Though a reformed street rat, the lad knows how to make a proper appearance. And a hearty "Bravo!" to that, I might add. Walter reached into his blazer pocket for his comb.

"No, but we have flashlights," Ophelia offered. Her uniform had the same crisp classiness as Walter's, except with a skirt beneath the blue blazer.

Walter tried not to roll his eyes. In London "torch" is the name used for a flashlight. But never mind, really. No need to offend Ophelia who, in his estimation, was turning into a real looker. Her sable (dark brown) hair shone like glass and matched her eyes. You had to admire a girl with such natural color coordination.

Linus, Ophelia, and Walter had survived several adventures together over the summer. And Walter, of all people, knew that a smart girl like Ophelia was a find.

One must give Walter credit for recognizing a good thing. Most of the male students at Kingscross University, where I work in the English Department, gravitate toward the girls who spend more time in the tanning booth than in the library and who would be better suited for a reality television horror show than the halls of learning.

Oh my, yes. The future would promise to be quite bleak if not for young people like these three and, hopefully, you as well.

Ophelia heaved her satchel onto the midnight blue sofa in the not-so-secret attic that the twins found shortly after they moved in with their Aunt Portia and Uncle Augustus, also twins. Their parents, the Doctors Easterday (PhD, naturally), had dumped Linus and Ophelia there at the beginning of the summer, so they could sail off for five years to study butterflies on the Island of Willis (discovered by Willis Cranston of Hohokus, New Jersey, while parasailing).

Granted, previously undiscovered species of these winged wonders were in residence on Stu. But to desert their own offspring, leaving them to navigate the teenage years without their parents? Hardly coincidental and atrocious to boot!

Some readers want everyone in books such as this to be good people, for the children therein to grow up in a home with two parents who love each other and are on constant lookout for the best interests of their children. While I'm sure those families exist, and hopefully you belong to one of them, if I portrayed the Drs. Easterday as model parents, it would be an unmitigated falsehood (a pure lie). In these stories, they are examples of what not to do concerning one's offspring.

A letter had arrived from the maternal Dr. Easterday, and Ophelia threw it on top of her book bag. "I can already tell you what it says," she said to Linus, who sat on a stool in front of his lab table watching a beaker full of purple ooze bubbling like a tar pit over a low flame.

Linus knew what it said, too. Butterflies this. Butterflies that. Butterflies here, there, and everywhere. And make sure you earn straight As, take your vitamins every morning, and limit your computer time.

And just how are you doing, Linus and Ophelia?

Oh, silly me. Those words were much like planes disappearing in the Bermuda Triangle, never to be found.

"Two more days," Linus said, pointing to a white circle painted on the worn wooden planks of the attic floor. It was September the ninth.

On 11:11 P.M. of September the eleventh, sparks would fly.

"I can't wait," said Ophelia.

Some people are gluttons for punishment.

A glutton for punishment is someone who knowingly advances into difficult situations. Which is fine if they accept their decision as their own, but it's unacceptable if they come crying to you expecting sympathy afterward. Don't give it to them, or you'll be listening to their whining for the rest of your life. Who wants that?

While awaiting the arrival of the infamous date and time, the trio of friends found other ways to occupy themselves. In fact, they had become accustomed to clandestine activity (sneaking around). Now concealed in dark pants, dark shirts, and dark hoodies, the gang traversed (crossed) the barricade that snaked around the perimeter of the construction zone on the first floor of The Pierce School.

Madrigal's no-good, terrible, and very bad brother Johann had set a fire in August that had destroyed the formal parlor of the mansion (owned and occupied by the Pierce family for more than two centuries), which now served as the school.

The construction crew had dismantled the charred floor, exposing the basement underneath. The windows still waited for glass panes, and the once blood-red walls were mostly black with soot. Like the workers, the three friends now entered the parlor from the veranda in the garden outside, hoping to keep all noises from echoing around the grand marble entry hall on the other side of the room.

Without a word, Ophelia distributed the flashlights. Linus procured (got) an aluminum ladder from the supplies the work crew left at the school, and he lowered it against the basement wall. "After you," he whispered to the others.

They soon stood in the basement facing the arched opening of the tunnel.

Walter released a sigh of relief. "Nobody should hear us now."

"True," whispered Linus, wondering who would lead the way down the dark passage. At least they would get away from the lingering, nostril-coating smell of the fire.

"I'll go first," said Ophelia, reading her brother's mind. Linus hated talking more than he hated doing laundry. (Exhibit one: the pyramid of dirty clothes in his bedroom is almost a wonder of the modern world.) So the phenomenon of his sister's ability to pick up on his thoughts—he dubbed them "transmissions"—was a gift of twinhood for which Linus always felt grateful.

Ophelia thumbed on her flashlight as the boys did the same. She shone its beam down the subterranean (underground) corridor. Stone walls and a dirt floor lit up beneath the searching eye of the light.

She shrugged. "Hmm." Then stepped forward without hesitation.

What a woman! thought Walter.

The tunnel wasn't high enough for Linus's six-foot-two-inch frame to walk through without bending his neck a bit. And the narrow width of the tunnel allowed for only one person to walk through comfortably, but Linus stayed close behind his sister quite easily.

Serving as the caboose of their three-car train of explorers, Walter, feeling not so far removed from the mean streets of his old neighborhood, allowed his survival instincts to kick in front and center. So far so good.

It was a bit disappointing, actually. Two weeks before, Walter had started taking classes at Mr. Yang's Most Excellent School of Kung Fu. Now he wanted to try out his new moves on the bullies who frequented Paris Park across the street, but they hadn't even placed so much as a toe on the lush grass that spread like a green velvet mantle (covering) over the park's open spaces.

While Ophelia dreamed of finding a classical pool, Walter hoped to stumble across a more criminal element, such as smuggled treasure. Linus was just along for the fun.

It takes all kinds, I suppose.

"Wow," Ophelia said when they were about fifty yards in, and then she suddenly stopped walking.

Linus, a genius of mind but not of body, ran into her back. "Sorry."

"What is it, O. J.?" asked Walter, employing the new nickname he'd given Ophelia. He is what some people might call a physical genius, picking up sports with little to no effort and always knowing where to be and what to do in a fight.

Disclaimer: The management in no way condones the use of violence or force. Further questions? Call 1-555-888-1111 and press pound. Thank you.

"The floor," said Ophelia, "it's limestone now, and the walls seem to be carved out of limestone too."

"A probable cave system!" said Linus.

"I wonder where it leads?" she asked.

Now Walter's instincts took over. "Let me take the lead, Ophelia. A drop-off might occur at any second."

"All right," Ophelia agreed. If someone was going to get hurt, it might as well not be her.

Now, you might think this extremely callous (heartless) of Ophelia, but her bookworm tendencies eclipsed any interest in athletics, and she knew Walter was clearly more equipped to lead the group in a subterranean expedition. The guy had a great set of reflexes.

Walter slid sideways past the twins, brushing against Ophelia's side as he did so (and feeling not one bit sad about it).

As Walter now took the lead, the trio angled their beams of light up and down and side to side.

"Dry so far," Linus observed, after they'd wandered the singular path for another minute or two.

The beams illuminated the path's end at another, wider path. They could go right or left, and none of them knew which was the road less traveled.

"We'd better not venture on," Walter said. "We might get lost, and we don't have a way to mark our trail."

And that has made all the difference. At least just then. Though it wasn't a very big difference, really.

I merely wanted to use a literary allusion (a reference to a previous work) there. But I have no compulsion (strong impulse) to tell you what it is. Ask your language arts teacher. And if he or she cannot locate it, then your parents should write a letter to the administration, post haste!

If you recognized it, then pat yourself on the back and know that you aren't counted as one of the dullards endangering our civilization!

Excerpted from Wrestling with Tom Sawyer by L. L. Samson. Copyright © 2013 by L. L. Samson. Excerpted by permission of ZONDERVAN.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents


One: Some Things Remain Hidden in the Most Obscure Places for an
Exceedingly Long Time; Hopefully You Are Not One of Them, or Let Us Drop
You into the Story Right Away, Shall We?....................     9     

Two: Books Gone Rogue or at the Very Least, Missing, or Setting Up the
Basic Problem to Keep the Reader Turning Pages....................     19     

Three: Party On, Auggie! Party On, Portia! or Introducing Side Characters
You've Come to Know and Love (or in the Case of Professor Birdwistell,
Wish You Hadn't Come to Know at All)....................     27     

Four: Some Quandaries Are Merely Huge Problems in Disguise, or Ophelia
Doesn't Necessarily Think of Everything....................     35     

Five: A Reaction Like No Other Requires an Opposite and Equal Reaction
Much the Same, or Why "Let Sleeping Dogs Lie" Is Good Advice ... for the
Most Part....................     43     

Six: More Missing Books and a Surprisingly Good Speller, or If It Isn't
Where You Put It, Chances Are Somebody Else Did Something with It Because
It Could Never Be Your Own Fault, Now Could It?....................     51     

Seven: Owls Aren't the Only Creatures Who Stay Up Late, or If You're Going
to Wander Around after Lights Out, Don't Forget Your Chalk.................     65     

Eight: Those Tickets Ain't Worth Much Around These Parts, Mister, or
Colloquialism (Heavily Accented Speech) Becomes Annoying after a While,
but Not as Annoying as a Self-Righteous Know-It-All....................     73     

Nine: Some People Still Set Foot in Libraries, or You Can't Find
Everything on the Internet, Though Some Might Beg to Differ................     83     

Ten: Why Is It That the Shadiest of Tales Are Also the Most Interesting?
or Too Bad Birdwistell Wasn't the One Who Disappeared. (Did I Just Say
That?)....................     89     

Eleven: Some People Just Make Trouble Naturally (Hopefully You Aren't One
of Them), or If You Are a Troublemaker, Don't Come Crying to Me When You
Are Friendless and Penniless....................     95     

Twelve: Cato Grubbs Goes Too Far, or Be Careful When You Try to Teach
Someone a Lesson. Your Regret Could Easily Outweigh Their Learning
Experience. Then Again, You Might Have No Regrets at All...................     105     

Thirteen: To Catch a Thief, or Why Do People Like Dirty Old Things
Anyway?....................     113     

Fourteen: A Dark Darker Than Dark, or Who Knew So Much Could Happen
Underground?....................     123     

Fifteen: Madge Will Be Madge, or Why Right Now?....................     129     

Sixteen: Unlikely Partners, or You Never Appreciate a Person until They're
Under the Ground....................     137     

Seventeen: Sometimes the Road Less Traveled Is Less Traveled for a Reason,
or Lead, Follow, or Get out of the Way....................     149     

Eighteen: In Cahoots with the Enemy, or Another Secret Room—What a
Surprise!....................     157     

Nineteen: Mystery Solved, or You'd Think They'd Be Able to, at Least Once,
Get People Back to the Circle with Ten Minutes to Spare....................     163     

Twenty: All's Well That Ends Well ... until the Next Time, or Tying Up
Loose Ends—but Not All of Them, Mind You....................     173     

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 19, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    This is the 4th book in the Enchanted Attic Series by L.L. Samso

    This is the 4th book in the Enchanted Attic Series by L.L. Samson. Other titles include Moby Dick, the Hunback and the Three Musketeers - so as you can see this series is about other great literary works.

    This is a great idea that Samson has - a way to bring classical works of literature into a young reader's hands - and to introduce them to the possibility of reading the works that her novels are inspired from.

    The basic premise of this series is straight forward, a group of kids find a abandoned magic attic wherein they bring famous literary characters to life. Think "Bill & Ted" for Junior High kids.

    These books are targeted at young readers - maybe 9 years to early High School and are written with wit and charm. Of course, being that these are Zondervan books, there are also trace hints to Christianity as well.

    These are wholesome books that teach strong values - well recommended. 

    Thank you to Zondervan & Zonderkidz for this advanced copy in exchange for a fair and honest review.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 1, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Ophelia and Linus the twins, and their good friend Walter decide

    Ophelia and Linus the twins, and their good friend Walter decided that they need another adventure right at the beginning of the semester, and they decided they should bring out Tom Sawyer out of his book. But the twins have an annoying cousin named Cato who plans to do whatever it takes to mess with them. When Cato brings out Injun (pronounced like "engine" ) Joe, a ruthless man who wants revenge so bad he'd kill for it, and has him kidnap Ophelia and Tom, its up to Tom's cleverness and Linus and Walter's quick wits to help Ophelia and Tom escape a (possible) murderer. This book is great! Ophelia was a bit annoying in this book, what with correcting every grammar mistake that Tom makes. I understand the problem with people who have horrible grammar, but I would have quickly realized that there was no point in even trying. I kinda dragged my way through the majority of the book, as it was a bit boring with some interesting bits thrown in. Thankfully, the book became more interesting when Ophelia and Tom were kidnapped. Nothing except the beginning of the book bothered me. The flow was great, and the writing was nice. I like how the author explains how each character is feeling, but not in a very confusing way. The book is the fourth in a series, and by the way it ended, I'm guessing there will be a 5th, which I'm excited for. I would recommend this series to tweens ages 11-16.

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