THE TROUBLE BEGINS AT 8: MARK TWAIN IN THE WILD WILD WEST; Sid Fleischman, New York: HarperCollins, 2008. 224pp.
Sid Fleischman's love letter to/biography of of Mark Twain is more fun if the reader already knows Twain's works, especially the early ones. Anyone familiar with Roughing It, The Innocents Abroad, and "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County," will enjoy discovering the circumstances surrounding the writing. But young people who don't know Twain should find plenty in this delightful book to draw them into Tom Sawyer or Twain's short stories, including Fleischman's Twainish style ("like a Missouri tornado, all full of grit and spare parts"). Excellent introduction to Mark Twain for upper elementary and Middle School children.