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The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine
Titelansicht von The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine
The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine
von Mark Twain
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A New York Times Bestseller!
A never-before-published, previously unfinished Mark Twain children's story is brought to life by Philip and Erin Stead, creators of the Caldecott Medal-winning A Sick Day for Amos McGee.


In a hotel in Paris one evening in 1879, Mark Twain sat with his young daughters, who begged their father for a story. Twain began telling them the tale of Johnny, a poor boy in possession of some magical seeds. Later, Twain would jot down some rough notes about the story, but the tale was left unfinished . . . until now.

Plucked from the Mark Twain archive at the University of California at Berkeley, Twain's notes now form the foundation of a fairy tale picked up over a century later. With only Twain's fragmentary script and a story that stops partway as his guide, author Philip Stead has written a tale that imagines what might have been if Twain had fully realized this work.

Johnny, forlorn and alone except for his pet chicken, meets a kind woman who gives him seeds that change his fortune, allowing him to speak with animals and sending him on a quest to rescue a stolen prince. In the face of a bullying tyrant king, Johnny and his animal friends come to understand that generosity, empathy, and quiet courage are gifts more precious in this world than power and gold.

Illuminated by Erin Stead's graceful, humorous, and achingly poignant artwork, this is a story that reaches through time and brings us a new book from America's most legendary writer, envisioned by two of today's most important names in children's literature.
"will capture the imaginations of readers of all ages"—USA Today, ★ ★ ★ ★ (out of four stars)
"Samuel Langhorne Clemens himself would be proud."—Booklist, starred review

★ "a cast of eccentric characters, celestially fine writing, and a crusade against pomp that doesn't sacrifice humor."—Publishers Weekly, starred review
★ "Completing a story penned by arguably America's greatest author is no easy feat, but the Caldecott-winning author-illustrator (and husband-wife) team proves more than equal to the task. . . . A pensive and whimsical work that Twain would applaud."—Kirkus, starred review
"The combination of Twain's (often sarcastic) humor and "lessons of life," a touch of allegory, and Stead's own storytelling skills result in an awesome piece of fantasy."—School Library Journal, starred review

"drawn with a graceful crosshatched intelligence that seems close to the best of Wyeth."—The New York Times

"Twain and the two Steads have created what could become a read-aloud classic, perfect for families to enjoy together."—The Horn Book

"artful and meta and elegant"—The Wall Street Journal
"should inspire readers young and old to seek further adventures with Twain."The Washington Post

"Johnny is destined to become as much a part of Twain lore as Tom, Huck, Jim and The Mysterious Stranger."—Hartford Courant

"bound to become a reading staple for all ages."—RealSimple.com
"Philip Stead brilliantly captures Twain's style, his homespun humor, his wordplay, his biting wit, his sympathy for the powerless and his disdain for the mighty."—The Buffalo News
A New York Times Bestseller!
A never-before-published, previously unfinished Mark Twain children's story is brought to life by Philip and Erin Stead, creators of the Caldecott Medal-winning A Sick Day for Amos McGee.


In a hotel in Paris one evening in 1879, Mark Twain sat with his young daughters, who begged their father for a story. Twain began telling them the tale of Johnny, a poor boy in possession of some magical seeds. Later, Twain would jot down some rough notes about the story, but the tale was left unfinished . . . until now.

Plucked from the Mark Twain archive at the University of California at Berkeley, Twain's notes now form the foundation of a fairy tale picked up over a century later. With only Twain's fragmentary script and a story that stops partway as his guide, author Philip Stead has written a tale that imagines what might have been if Twain had fully realized this work.

Johnny, forlorn and alone except for his pet chicken, meets a kind woman who gives him seeds that change his fortune, allowing him to speak with animals and sending him on a quest to rescue a stolen prince. In the face of a bullying tyrant king, Johnny and his animal friends come to understand that generosity, empathy, and quiet courage are gifts more precious in this world than power and gold.

Illuminated by Erin Stead's graceful, humorous, and achingly poignant artwork, this is a story that reaches through time and brings us a new book from America's most legendary writer, envisioned by two of today's most important names in children's literature.
"will capture the imaginations of readers of all ages"—USA Today, ★ ★ ★ ★ (out of four stars)
"Samuel Langhorne Clemens himself would be proud."—Booklist, starred review

★ "a cast of eccentric characters, celestially fine writing, and a crusade against pomp that doesn't sacrifice humor."—Publishers Weekly, starred review
★ "Completing a story penned by arguably America's greatest author is no easy feat, but the Caldecott-winning author-illustrator (and husband-wife) team proves more than equal to the task. . . . A pensive and whimsical work that Twain would applaud."—Kirkus, starred review
"The combination of Twain's (often sarcastic) humor and "lessons of life," a touch of allegory, and Stead's own storytelling skills result in an awesome piece of fantasy."—School Library Journal, starred review

"drawn with a graceful crosshatched intelligence that seems close to the best of Wyeth."—The New York Times

"Twain and the two Steads have created what could become a read-aloud classic, perfect for families to enjoy together."—The Horn Book

"artful and meta and elegant"—The Wall Street Journal
"should inspire readers young and old to seek further adventures with Twain."The Washington Post

"Johnny is destined to become as much a part of Twain lore as Tom, Huck, Jim and The Mysterious Stranger."—Hartford Courant

"bound to become a reading staple for all ages."—RealSimple.com
"Philip Stead brilliantly captures Twain's style, his homespun humor, his wordplay, his biting wit, his sympathy for the powerless and his disdain for the mighty."—The Buffalo News
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Über den Autor-
  • MARK TWAIN (1835–1910), considered one of the greatest writers in American literature, was born Samuel Langhorne Clemens in Florida, Missouri. As a young child, he moved with his family to Hannibal, Missouri, on the banks of the Mississippi River, a setting that inspired his two best-known novels, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Twain and his wife, Olivia Langdon Clemens, had four children—a son, Langdon, who died as an infant, and three daughters, Susy, Clara, and Jean.

    PHILIP STEAD is the author of the Caldecott Medal–winning book A Sick Day for Amos McGee. With his wife, illustrator Erin Stead, he also created Bear Has a Story to Tell, Lenny & Lucy, and The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine. Philip has also written and illustrated his own books, including Hello, My Name Is Ruby; Jonathan and the Big Blue Boat; and A Home for Bird. Philip and Erin live in northern Michigan. Visit Philip online at philipstead.com.

    ERIN STEAD is the illustrator of eight highly-acclaimed picture books: the Caldecott Medal–winning A Sick Day for Amos McGee; The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine; Tony; And Then It's Spring; Bear Has a Story to Tell; Lenny & Lucy; If You Want to See a Whale; and The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles. She lives in northern Michigan with her husband, author/illustrator Philip Stead. Visit Erin online at erinstead.com.
Rezensionen-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from July 10, 2017
    Working from notes Twain made after telling an especially successful bedtime story, Philip C. Stead completes the tale of gentle Johnny, whose heart is pure despite his bleak surroundings and cruel grandfather. A magic flower gives him the power to understand the speech of animals, and a menagerie of kindly creatures helps him win the reward for finding the kingdom’s lost Prince Oleomargarine—an insufferable twit, as it turns out. In postmodern fashion, Johnny’s odyssey is often interrupted by imagined banter between Twain and Stead, who sit outside an island cabin and argue about how to proceed. Erin Stead’s exquisite woodblock-and-pencil prints give the creamy pages an ethereal feel; her detailed close-up portraits of the main characters create a sense of intimate acquaintance. Even the action spreads have the stately appearance of medieval tapestries, as when Johnny and his animal family appear before the king: the tiny monarch, a tad defensive about his stature, sits on a throne that elevates him almost to the ceiling, putting him face-to-face with the delegation’s giraffe. At the story’s heart is a plea for honesty and kindness, expressed in its purest form by Johnny, who—unlike his voluble authors—doesn’t say much. “Then he opened his mouth and discovered the words that could save mankind from all its silly, ceaseless violence.... He said: ‘I am glad to know you.’ ” Stead stays faithful to Twain with a cast of eccentric characters, celestially fine writing, and a crusade against pomp that doesn’t sacrifice humor. Ages 8–12. Agent: (for the Mark Twain House and Museum) Tina Wexler, ICM; (for the Steads) Emily van Beek, Folio Literary Management.

  • Kirkus

    July 15, 2017
    This recently discovered Twain fairy tale finds life as a picture book.Completing a story penned by arguably America's greatest author is no easy feat, but the Caldecott-winning author-illustrator (and husband-wife) team proves more than equal to the task, transforming Twain's jotted notes in an 1879 journal entry about a story told to his daughters into a beautifully illustrated fable that showcases the exemplary talents of all three artists. The tale follows the adventures of Johnny, a kindhearted African-American child being raised by his cruel grandfather. Forced to sell his only friend--a pet chicken--Johnny, rather like Jack before him, instead acquires seeds, the flowers from which enable him to converse with animals. When Prince Oleomargarine--the kingdom's heir--is kidnapped, Johnny and his animal friends mount a rescue. Interwoven through the fairy tale is a series of author's notes detailing a fictitious meeting between Twain and the author, from which this story emerges. Twain's presence in the narrative allows Philip Stead to both acknowledge his literary debt and retain the freedom to make the tale his own. He is aided by Erin Stead's sublime print illustrations, which demonstrate her masterful ability to create physical presence and characters' emotions as well as landscapes; the muted greens, soft blues, and light pinkish-brown hues of her double-page spreads set a magical tone for a world that mirrors, but is not quite, our own. A pensive and whimsical work that Twain would applaud. (Picture book. 8-adult)

    COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    September 1, 2017

    Gr 4-8-Using 16 pages of abbreviated handwritten notes from 1880 and outlining a tale Twain made up for his daughters, Stead has created a rhythmic and imaginative story seamlessly blended with intermittent "discussions" between the two authors. Twain's story is set in a land where "the luckless and hungry remain luckless and hungry for all of their lives," while "in the United States of America, everyone and everything is given a fair and equal chance. It would be rude to believe otherwise." Young Johnny, the main character, lives with his mean old grandfather on a piece of arid land with a withered old apple tree and a chicken that his grandfather has ordered him to sell at the market "for something worth eating." Along the way, he meets an old blind woman who trades a handful of blue seeds she obtained from a fairy for the chicken. After eating the flower that grows from the blue seed, Johnny is able to converse with animals who provide a banquet, help build him a house, and lead him to the missing Prince Oleomargarine. Here Twain disappears, and Stead is obliged to provide the story's ending. Erin Stead's numerous softly detailed illustrations in muted browns, greens, and yellows; laser cuttings; and block-printed silhouettes bring the unusual cast of characters to life. VERDICT The combination of Twain's (often sarcastic) humor and "lessons of life," a touch of allegory, and Stead's own storytelling skills result in an awesome piece of fantasy.-Susan Scheps, formerly at Shaker Public Library, OH

    Copyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • USA Today, ★ ★ ★ ★ (out of four stars) "will capture the imaginations of readers of all ages"
  • Kirkus, starred review ★ "Completing a story penned by arguably America's greatest author is no easy feat, but the Caldecott-winning author-illustrator (and husband-wife) team proves more than equal to the task. . . . A pensive and whimsical work that Twain would applaud."
  • Hartford Courant "Johnny is destined to become as much a part of Twain lore as Tom, Huck, Jim and The Mysterious Stranger."
  • RealSimple.com "bound to become a reading staple for all ages."
  • The Buffalo News "Philip Stead brilliantly captures Twain's style, his homespun humor, his wordplay, his biting wit, his sympathy for the powerless and his disdain for the mighty."
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    Random House Children's Books
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The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine
The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine
Mark Twain
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