Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The Purlioning of Prince Oleomargarine by Mark Twain and Philip Stead - OPTIONAL

Twain, Mark and Philip Stead  The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine, 152 pgs.  Illustrated by Erin Stead.  Doubleday Books, 2017.  $24.99  Content: G. 

Johnny lives with his mean grandfather and his pet chicken.  When Johnny’s grandfather forces him to take the chicken to sell into town, Johnny meets a woman who trades him blue seeds for the chicken.  After the blue seeds grow a flower, Johnny eats the flower and then is able to understand animals.  The animals become his friends and help him build a nice house and have an adventure with rescuing the prince.  

The beginning of this book was fun and although it was sad and kind of dark, I thought it would be a great Mark Twain short story, but as it progressed it took a lot of confusing turns.  I’m not sure any kid would stick with this story and it’s a bit of a stretch to sell this as Mark Twain’s.  The story line is entertaining; however, it is hard to wade through all the extra comments from Philip Stead to get to the narrative.  The vocabulary is high for younger readers, but the message seems too simple for older readers.  The illustrations were pretty amazing though and I liked Johnny and the animals—I just wish their story wasn’t distractedly interrupted over and over with commentary that was pointless.  

EL – OPTIONAL.  Reviewer, C. Peterson.

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