The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Globe Life

March 13, 2009

Book review: Youth titles are informative, or just fun

For the most part I write about adult books available at the Joplin Public Library, but my heart still remains in youth services.

Below are children’s books that have been on my nightstand of late. Regardless of your age, these contain good information or are just plain fun to read.

“The Trouble Begins at 8: A Life of Mark Twain in the Wild, Wild West”

By Sid Fleischman (non-fiction)

This well-researched, accessible biography tells of Mark Twain’s life on the Missouri River, heading West to California, how he started writing, and how and why Samuel Clemens came to use the name Mark Twain. Some information about his family and life as a child is also included.

Although this book is written for children, it is a terrific book for those wanting an overview of Twain’s life and is suitable for all ages.

Newbery Award-winning author Sid Fleischman includes many photographs and illustrations, a timeline of Twain’s life, references, a bibliography of titles about Twain as well as a bibliography of his work and an index in this well-written book of one of Missouri’s most favorite and well-known sons.

“Seer of Shadows”

By Avi (fiction)

Horace is a young apprentice to a photographer, Mr. Middleditch.

Mr. Middleditch is not a very well-known photographer and therefore jumps at the chance to take pictures of Mrs. Von Machts, who wishes to have a picture placed at her daughter’s tomb.

Mr. Middleditch devises a scheme to place an image of the deceased daughter, Eleanora, to appear as if her ghost is hovering within the photograph. Horace, not thrilled with this idea, is given the task of using a spy camera to take pictures of pictures of Eleanora in the house while Mr. Middleditch takes Mrs. Von Machts’ portrait.

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