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The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Paperback) by Mark Twain (Author)

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From School Library Journal

Grade 5 Up-British actor Mike McShane provides a superb portrayal of Mark Twain's classic characters, nailing the Mississippi drawl and cadence. For those who know and love the story or are following along with an unabridged edition, however, this production is marred somewhat by what the publisher has chosen to leave out. The more descriptive chapters are shortened or expurgated entirely, which is understandable in the interest of editing for time. Some of the more distasteful racial epithets are gone as well, although Injun Joe retains his moniker. Sid and Mary are also cut entirely, as well as references to smoking, slavery, most of Tom's ludicrously funny romantic notions about the violence inflicted by pirates and robbers, and even the naked figure in the schoolmaster's anatomy book. The result is a watered down Tom and, especially, Huck. The ending also lacks the satisfaction of the original version. The party scene where the fortune is revealed has been cut as has Twain's concluding paragraphs which "endeth this chronicle." It lacks even the closure of the customary, "You have been listening to-." The sturdy plastic case will survive many circulations. If your facility serves an elementary-age population for which the language of the original would not be appropriate, or there is a teacher looking for a sanitized version, McShane's excellent performance makes this edition worth recommending.

Diana Dickerson, White Pigeon Community Schools, MI

Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

From Library Journal

Huckleberry Finn may be the greater book, but Tom Sawyer has always been more widely read. Moreover, it is a book that can be enjoyed equally by both children and adults. Twain, who called it a "hymn" to boyhood, would be thrilled that in narrator Patrick Fraley his hymn has found its most passionate voice. Many good unabridged readings of Tom Sawyer have already been recorded, but most are simply that: readings. Fraley's performance is something more; in attempting to bring each character to life, his enthusiasm for the material is so palpable that the mere sound of his voice commands attention. A can't-miss addition to all libraries, including those that have other Tom Sawyer programs. Kent Rasmussen, Thousand Oaks, CA

Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

Contemporary Reviews

Notice of Recent Literature from the May 1876 issue of The Atlantic Monthly


5 out of 5 stars The First Great Coming of Age American Novel, May 14, 2000

By Professor Donald Mitchell "Jesus Makes Me a P... (Boston) (TOP 10 REVIEWER)       

This review is from: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)

Tom Sawyer is one of the most endearing characters in American fiction. This wonderful book deals with all the challenges that any young person faces, and resolves them in exciting and unusual ways.

Like many young people, Tom would rather be having fun than going to school and church. This is always getting him into trouble, from which he finds unusual solutions. One of the great scenes in this book has Tom persuading his friends to help him whitewash a fence by making them think that nothing could be finer than doing his punishment for playing hooky from school. When I first read this story, it opened up my mind to the potential power of persuasion.

Tom also is given up for dead and has the unusual experience of watching his own funeral and hearing what people really thought of him. That's something we all should be able to do. By imagining what people will say at our funeral, we can help establish the purpose of our own lives. Mark Twain has given us a powerful tool for self-examination in this wonderful sequence.

Tom and Huck Finn also witness a murder, and have to decide how to handle the fact that they were not supposed to be there and their fear of retribution from the murderer, Injun Joe.

Girls are a part of Tom's life, and Becky Thatcher and he have a remarkable adventure in a cave with Injun Joe. Any young person will remember the excitement of being near someone they cared about alone in this vignette.

Tom stands for the freedom that the American frontier offered to everyone. His aunt Polly represents the civilizing influence of adults and towns. Twain sets up a rewarding novel that makes us rethink the advantages of both freedom and civilization. In this day of the Internet frontier, this story can still provide valuable lessons about listening to our inner selves and acting on what they have to say. Enjoy!

5 out of 5 stars Really fun, even for a girl., November 18, 2000

By Callie "chroi" (Portland, OR United States)

This review is from: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Books of Wonder) (Hardcover)

I read this book when I was almost fourteen, just an ordinary modern teenage girl. But any one can read Tom Sawyer and really love it. It has many MANY a funny part. Tom has many fun times with his friends and their imaginations have no limit. The reader gets to learn about boys and girls(mostly boys) that lived more than a hundred years ago. What really appealed to me was the fact that the lives and minds of children then are not too different from children today. Kids today are obsessed with television. Kids back then were obsessed with books and too commonly took make believe for reality. They played tricks on one another and commonly bugged adults or the opposite gender. Often times, they were very superstitous and strongly believed in ghosts and magic. The reader is also swept away by the many adventures of Tom and his friends. Many of their adventures are a part of imagination, pretending to be pirates or Robin Hood. But Tom and Huck do get to have a few real adventures, specifically with the murderer, caves, and river island. The story doesn't have much of a plot or significance, but that is the way it was meant to be, for the story is funny and tickles the reader. It satires and plays with life. I highly recommend it to everyone, for it is important to know the relationship between our time and the past, boys and girls, youth and adults, the mature and immature, and every opposite. Enjoy!

4 out of 5 stars The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, January 1, 2001

A Kid's Review

This review is from: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is a fascinating and adventurous book about a boy named Tom Sawyer. He has a major crush on a girl called Becky Thacker. In this book, Tom goes to an island with two of his friends, attends their own funeral, and look for treasure! Tom sees Injun Joe a killer with treasure. He wants it, but his only clue where Injun Joe hid it is that it has something to do with number 2. Tom is now lost in a cave all alone with Becky. Can he find his way out of the cave and~~ the way to the treasure? I agree with Mark Twain's decisions and ideas. I believe that I would be doing the same thing if I were in his position. His decisions are able to happen; yet The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is such a good book. I would recommend this book to people who like adventurous books, and likes classics. It leaves you at so many cliffhangers that you can help but read all of it at once, for the people who like cliffhangers.

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