Cover image for River boy : the story of Mark Twain
River boy : the story of Mark Twain
Anderson, William, 1952-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : HarperCollins Publishers, [2003]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 29 cm
Reading Level:
AD 880 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 4.9 0.5 68342.

Reading Counts RC 3-5 5.6 3 Quiz: 36081 Guided reading level: O.
Added Author:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS1332 .A53 2003 Juvenile Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
PS1332 .A53 2003 Juvenile Non-Fiction Biography
PS1332 .A53 2003 Juvenile Non-Fiction New Materials
PS1332 .A53 2003 Juvenile Non-Fiction Biography
PS1332 .A53 2003 Juvenile Non-Fiction Biography
PS1332 .A53 2003 Juvenile Non-Fiction Biography

On Order



Ste-e-e-eamboat's a-comin'!"

Along the banks of the great Mississippi River, a young boy named Samuel Clemens raced to the docks whenever he heard that familiar cry. He dreamed of exploring the world beyond his river town. Little did he know that one day he would become the famous writer Mark Twain, and write about his boyhood adventures along the bustling river waterfront in the classic stories The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

Sam's exploits take him from the printing presses of the Hannibal Courier to the decks of the steamboats that travel the mighty Mississippi, and even to the Wild West.

Now noted historian William Anderson tells the colorful story of Sam's life as he grows from a mischievous boy into the enterprising author. Dan Andreasen's fresh, vibrant paintings capture the spirit of the storyteller who will live on forever as one of America's literary icons.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 1^-4. Anderson has done a fine job of shaping Sam Clemens/Mark Twain's long and extraordinary life into a coherent narrative for young children. The Mississippi River in Hannibal, Missouri, defined much of the boy's early life--a place to explore, play, and dream. He left school at 12, when his father died, learned about printing, then steamboat piloting, then lit out for gold in Nevada Territory, along the way honing his talent for storytelling. Anderson slips in a few vignettes, such as the time young Sam had to whitewash the fence, which alert readers will note found their way into Twain's other books. Andreasen's burnished paintings capture the gold of imagination and memory, broad vistas of sky and land, architectural details that create a setting (the wheel of a riverboat, the edge of a family porch), and bright-eyed, apple-cheeked figures. A chronology on the end paper hints at the sadness of Twain's later years. --GraceAnne A. DeCandido

Publisher's Weekly Review

Anderson and Andreasen (previously paired for Pioneer Girl) spotlight Samuel Clemens, aka Mark Twain, in this attractive but ultimately disappointing picture book. The author describes Sam's boyhood, spent along the banks of the Mississippi River, through his stints as a printer and steamboat pilot, gold miner and newspaper reporter to his successful career as a novelist and lecturer. However, he presumes a prior acquaintance with Twain's work. For example, he reports that young Sam was punished once by being made to whitewash a fence but tricked his friends into doing the work; yet Anderson never spells out the connection with Tom Sawyer. The prose slips occasionally into clich ("The hiss of the steam and the call of the whistle on the Mississippi River tugged at Sam's heart"). Twain's witticisms are quoted only once or twice, and his voice stays muted. Andreasen's paintings help transcend the shortcomings of the text. He conjures a Rockwellian era of barefoot boys in straw hats and suspenders, and evokes the romance of the Mississippi in evocative endpapers that show a steamboat chugging up an inky blue river. Ages 7-10. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 3-5-This engaging, anecdotal biography will acquaint readers with some of Clemens's own boyish exploits, which eventually became memorable moments in the lives of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. Clemens is portrayed as an adventuresome, fun-loving person who, from an early age, became an expert at exploring new venues, and who became a great writer and humorist despite the fact that his formal education ended at age 12. The people in Andreasen's illustrations have the same round-cheeked, homespun look as those found in Norman Rockwell's paintings. The pictures have a softness that suggests an earlier time, and many of them have an appealing luminescent quality. A chronology on the endpapers lists key events in Clemens's life. For a younger audience than Kathryn Lasky's equally well-written A Brilliant Streak: The Making of Mark Twain (Harcourt, 1998), River Boy has only one flaw: the lack of source notes or bibliography to substantiate the anecdotal information. Otherwise, it is a perfect introductory biography that will appeal to both children and teachers.-Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.