Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Trouble Begins at 8 by Sid Fleischman

"Mark Twain was born fully grown,
with a cheap cigar clamped between his teeth."

The abstract is hidden because it may contain spoilers. If you would like to read the full summary, simply use your cursor to highlight the next few lines and it will magically appear.

Abstract: Here, in high style, is the story of a wisecracking adventurer who came of age in the untamed West. A rebel who surprised himself by becoming the most famous American of his time.

Greenwillow Books; 224 pages


Mary said...

While I really enjoyed this book -- the style was perfect for a biography of Twain -- I was bothered that the many pictures often interrupted the flow of the text.

According to the official Newbery criteria, "Each book is to be considered as a contribution to literature. The committee is to make its decision primarily on the text. Other aspects of a book are to be considered only if they distract from the text. Such other aspects might include illustrations, overall design of the book, etc. I thought the way the pictures were placed were significant distractions from the text.

Kris said...

I couldn't agree with you more! While I enjoyed the pictures, and thought they added depth and insight, especially for younger readers, I began to wish I had been listening to this one; the pictures were more of an interruption. I LOVE the way the words flow, the language Fleischman uses is perfect, as if Twain himself were telling the story.

Heather said...

I agree about the pictures.

While I appreciate the Twain feeling of the text, I found Fleischman's attempts at wit to be confusing. I often had to re-read passages to interpret the meaning.

It was also difficult at times to understand which of Twain's works he was referring to and why as they were mentioned in passing before being discussed in depth.

Kayakgirl said...

I loved this book. Who wouldn't love to hear more about Mark Twain?
I think it is kid friendly as well.

Teresa said...

I found this book easy to read and interesting. I feel I have a fairly good notion of Mark Twain. Not sure how this would read as an intro to the man and his works. Not to say that limits its power, just wondering if too much is assumed for the intended age group to already know about the time period and locations.

Also, I was bothered somewhat by some of Twain's children's births not showing up in the timeline when their deaths were present. Or did I miss something?

Heather said...

I think too much is assumed for the intended age group. I am familiar with Twain's work and yet I was baffled at times to understand what exactly the author was referring too.

I missed the time line problem :(

Jessica said...

I also was confused by the time line. The pictures messed me up and I often had to back track to take a look at the pictures.
My biggest concern is the intended audience. I feel that as a college student, it was a lot for me to take in about Twain. This would be a lot for a middle schooler or junior high student.
This did offer lots of fun information about Twain's life and the lifestyle of the West exploration.
I would enjoy reading other biographies that had a similar amount of interesting information with a different format.