Synopses & Reviews
You should ever bear in mind that it is to your kind parents that you are indebted for your food, and for the privilege of staying home from school when you let on that you are sick. Therefore you ought to respect their little prejudices, and humor their little whims, and put up with their little foibles until they get to crowding you too much.
When Mark Twain wrote the sparky short story "Advice to Little Girls" in 1865, he probably didn't mean for it to be shown to them. Or maybe he did, since we all know Twain was a rascal. Now, author and illustrator Vladimir Radunsky has created a picture book based on Twain's text that adds all the right outlandish touches.
Born on November 30, 1835, in Florida, Missouri, Samuel L. Clemens wrote under the pen name Mark Twain. He wrote two major classics of American literature, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. He was also a riverboat pilot, journalist, lecturer, entrepreneur, and inventor. Whether or not it was Mark Twain's actual intention for little girls to read this humorous short story, it's clear that he did not talk down to children, but rather expected them to stretch themselves in order to grasp sophisticated, adult meaning.
Vladimir Radunsky has illustrated many books to great acclaim. Recently, Radunsky has been moving farther and farther away from the traditional picture book and into other more innovative forms. The most recent example is a work published by HarperCollins of hip-hop poetry for children, where the graffiti art has migrated from the walls into a printed book. Radunsky has published more than thirty books for children, mostly in the United States. Many of them were translated and published in France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, and Japan.
"Radunsky's (You?) ink flourishes and adorable, lumpy figures steal the stage from Twain's essay, printed in a typewritten font and clipped to the pages like notes. The essay parodies the etiquette books of Twain's time, counseling deviousness over savagery. 'If you have nothing but a rag-doll... while one of your more fortunate little playmates has a costly China one, you should treat her with a show of kindness nevertheless.' Radunsky's paintings don't portray the tension between thought and deed; they're all id. The rag-doll owner heaves her doll high above her head, ready to smash it over the head of the other girl ('And you ought not to attempt to make a forcible swap with her unless your conscience would justify you in it'). Another girl puts a furious pink tongue out at a large-bosomed matron, who responds in kind. Scribbly ink figures litter the margins of the golden pages; period costumes offer the only note of social restraint. It's less readaloud than objet d'art, but the descendants of the girls to whom the essay was originally addressed will recognize themselves. Ages 4 8. (Apr.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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"Crisply satirical and a little subversive, Twain's short, acerbic sendup slyly exhorts little girls to take a calculating approach to manipulating friends, brothers and elders. [...] An elegant curiosity for admirers of Twain, Radunsky or both." -- Kirkus Review
"Radunsky's ink flourishes and adorable, lumpy figures steal the stage." -- Publishers Weekly
Brilliantly illustrated, this witty, charming story is perfect for clever girls, adults and the mischievous boys in their midst.
About the Author
has illustrated many wonderful books, including The Maestro Plays
by Bill Martin Jr and Woody Guthrie's Howdi Do
. He is also the author-illustrator of 10
(ten), The Mighty Asparagus
, and (with Chris Raschka) of Table Manners
Born on November 30, 1835, in Florida, Missouri, Samuel L. Clemens wrote under the pen name Mark Twain and went on to pen several novels, including two major classics of American literature, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. He was also a riverboat pilot, journalist, lecturer, entrepreneur and inventor. It is unknown whether it was Mark Twain's actual intention for little girls to read this humorous short story published in 1867. What is clear is that he did not talk down to children, but rather expected them to stretch themselves in order to grasp sophisticated and perhaps even adult meanings.