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Prince and the Pauper, The

by Mark Twain

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From Publishers Weekly
Made less satirical than Mark Twain's classic and simplified for younger readers, this retelling is still a lively romp. A beggar and a prince look so alike that they change places but then cannot immediately switch back. Mayer's (The Unicorn and the Lake) adaptation is serviceable if not sparkling; she retains all the key scenes of the story but flattens Twain's archaisms. While some of the original's sophisticated humor gets lost in the translation, much of it remains. For example, when Edward, the prince, tries telling pauper Tom's parents that he is really the Prince of Wales, Tom's mother responds, "Oh, poor Tom, it's all those books you read that's done this to you." And in court, when Tom is given a finger bowl, he drinks from it, announcing, "This is a very flavorless soup." Lippincott (Bruce Coville's Magic Shop series) vibrantly renders the ragged features of the paupers, and his tableaux are full of life. His palace scenes are ornate, light-filled watercolors of splendor in which the boys' homely, toothy faces seem like the only real and honest things. For readers not yet ready for Twain, this version, like its model, will make them think about their places in the world. Ages 7-up. (Oct.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal
Grade 4-6?Carl Reiner narrates this abridged version of The Prince and the Pauper. It captures the main plot points of the book and retains the rollicking humor of Twain's writing. The story concerns Tom Canty, a poor boy, who bears a striking resemblance to Prince Edward, heir to the throne of England. Through a series of mishaps, the boys change places, and those around them do not believe them when they each claim to be the other boy. Eventually, all ends well, with Edward restored to the throne and Tom retaining a place in his court. Reiner's narration is, at first, a big jarring, since an American accent telling a very British story is unexpected. However, once the story develops, listeners will quickly become engrossed. Various sound effects, such as trumpet fanfares, give the story some color. Overall, this is an entertaining choice for most public libraries.
Melissa Hudak, Roscoe Branch Library, Loves Park, IL
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal
Grade 1-3-Condensing a 400-page novel into a picture book is a monumental task. The Prince and the Pauper is a long moralistic tale with difficult dialogue written in the archaic pattern of the 16th century. It is also a rollicking adventure of drama and narrow escapes. Though more understated than many of Mark Twain's novels, it is also filled with his sly wit and humor. Mayer does manage to convey the basics of the story in readable prose but the nuances of the novel are necessarily lost. For example, the name of Tom's home, Offal Court, which does as much as any description to place the boy's station in life, is not mentioned. Also, some vital connections are not made. The hiding of the Great Seal and Tom's accidental knowledge of its location, which is the key to Edward's eventual recognition as king, is not delineated. The build up of humor in such events as the first royal dinner, where after a series of mistakes and gaffs, Tom is afraid to scratch his violently itching nose, can not be contained in the shortened version. The illustrations, done in realistic watercolors, though often relying too heavily on gaping mouths to portray emotion, pick up the dramatic moments of the story. Ultimately, though, even a skillful picture-book retelling can be no more than a brief summary of the original, and not a substitute for it.
Karen James, Louisville Free Public Library, KY
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From AudioFile
Mark Twain's 1881 tale recounts the switched identities of young beggar Tom Canty and Edward, Prince of Wales. The fable resonates with today's youngsters who dream of the lives of pop stars, athletes, and even royalty. Kenneth Jay does a fine job of portraying characters who step from the streets and court of Tudor London. His voice is clear and distinct with the accents of the different social classes. His Cockney sounds real enough for American ears without being so thick it's hard to understand. As usual, the Naxos music selections add a nice tone. Here's a fine rendition of one of Twain's best-loved stories. R.F.W. © AudioFile 2002, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine

From Booklist
Young London beggar Tom Canty encounters Prince Edward VI, and curious about each other's lives, they switch clothes. They have barely noted their uncanny resemblance to each other when a palace guard seizes the prince in beggar's clothing and throws him into the street. Each follows the other's destiny for a time, unable to right matters until the prince appears at the coronation, and things are straightened out. Mayer boils down Mark Twain's The Prince and the Pauper to its essence, retelling the story in a picture-book edition with a sense of drama as well as the occasional, inevitable sense of summarized plot. A better choice for retelling than most classic novels, The Prince and the Pauper has an exciting plot, features children as protagonists, and is seldom read by young people today. Gary Lippincott's dramatic watercolor paintings, impressive for their characterization, composition, and subtle, muted colors, will draw readers to this large-format book. A lively new edition of the old tale. Carolyn Phelan

Nineteenth-Century Fiction
"Each additional volume reaffirms our faith and celebration in this splendid series."

Jonathan Kirsch, Los Angeles Times
"Handsome, readable and full of surprises . . . the . . . classics that come to us from the Mark Twain Library are simply superb."

Book Description
Twain's historical tale about Edward VI and a pauper who exchange places by accident just days before Henry VIII's death.

The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature
Novel by Mark Twain, published in 1881. In it Twain satirizes social conventions, concluding that appearances often hide a person's true value. Despite its saccharine plot, the novel succeeds as a critique of legal and moral injustices. On a lark two identical-looking boys, Prince Edward Tudor of Wales and street urchin Tom Canty, exchange clothes. In the ensuing mix-up, each is mistaken for the other and both are believed to be mad. Edward learns about the problems of commoners, while Tom learns to play the role of a prince and then a king.

Card catalog description
A simplified retelling of the Mark Twain classic in which young Edward VI of England and a poor boy who resembles him exchange places and each learns something about the other's very different station in life.

From the Publisher
**Performed by 2001 Grammy nominated Carl Reiner, for Best Performance in spoken word audio, for Mark Twain's Letters from Earth.**

Inside Flap Copy
Tom Canty has always wanted to be rich, until he meets the Prince of Wales - and they switch places! Tom quickly finds out that being rich and powerful isn't nearly as fun as he'd hoped. Now he wants his old life back, but the real prince has disappeared! This timeless classic by Mark Twain makes another excellent addition to the Step into Classics line.

From the Back Cover
"Unquestionably the best book he has ever written."-Susy Clemens, aged thirteen



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