River Boy


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  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: 2 - 5
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; 1st edition (February 18, 2003)

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by William Anderson (Author) , Dan Andreasen (Illustrator)

Ste-e-e-eamboat's a-comin'!"

Along the banks of the great Mississippi River, a young boy named Samuel Clemens raced to the docks whenever he heard that familiar cry. He dreamed of exploring the world beyond his river town. Little did he know that one day he would become the famous writer Mark Twain, and write about his boyhood adventures along the bustling river waterfront in the classic stories The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

Sam's exploits take him from the printing presses of the Hannibal Courier to the decks of the steamboats that travel the mighty Mississippi, and even to the Wild West.

Now noted historian William Anderson tells the colorful story of Sam's life as he grows from a mischievous boy into the enterprising author. Dan Andreasen's fresh, vibrant paintings capture the spirit of the storyteller who will live on forever as one of America's literary icons.

After teaching the works of Mark Twain to his students for many years, William Anderson was able to write about one of his favorite authors.  RIVER BOY:  THE STORY OF MARK TWAIN, is currently being readied for publication by Harper Collins Children’s Books and will be available in bookstores in March, 2003

Although Mark Twain’s life has been written about many times, it remains a perennial favorite.  Often times when William Anderson speaks at conferences, he is told by elementary educators that "we need more high interest beginning biographies for our students in the early grades."  And ‘Children in second and third grades like facts; they often ask:  ‘Is this book true?’"

 So RIVER BOY is such a book; an exciting story of the fabled life of a great author and a biographical source for all readers.

William Anderson always tries to make his writing subjects very human; after all, most everyone has the same set of basic needs and desires.  A story he uncovered in research seemed too good to be true.  After all, wouldn’t we like money to flow our way when we need it?  This is not a fantastical story of a money tree, but it is almost as good;

RIVER BOY will feature art by Dan Andreason, who received critical acclaim for his art in William Anderson’s PIONEER GIRL:  THE STORY OF LAURA INGALLS WILDER.  Dan has also done book jackets for titles by William Anderson, and the two have appeared at various confereces together as an author-illustrator team.  Dan’s wonderful sense of historical times and his brilliant use of color should make RIVER BOY’s adventurous story line glow with the full page illustrations.

Sam had a bold dream, a faraway one.  He wanted to explore the Amazon River in South America.  He had no money for the trip, but one day a gust of wind blew a fifty dollar bill his way.  It nearly hit him in the face!  With the money he boarded a steamboat headed south.