Mark Twain, born Samuel Langhorne Clemens in 1835, led one of the most exciting of literary lives. Raised in the river town of Hannibal, Missouri, Twain had to leave school at age 12 and was successively a journeyman printer, a steamboat pilot, a halfhearted Confederate soldier, and a prospector, miner, and reporter in the western territories. His experiences furnished him with a wide knowledge of humanity, as well as with the perfect grasp of local customs and speech which manifests itself in his writing.
With the publication in 1865 of The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, Twain gained national attention as a frontier humorist, and the bestselling Innocents Abroad solidified his fame. But it wasn't until Life on the Mississippi (1883), and finally, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), that he was recognized by the literary establishment as one of the greatest writers America would ever produce. Toward the end of his life, plagued by personal tragedy and financial failure, Twain grew more and more pessimistic--an outlook not alleviated by his natural skepticism and sarcasm. Though his fame continued to widen--Yale & Oxford awarded him honorary degrees--Twain spent his last years in gloom and exasperation, writing fables about "the damned human race."
With his legendary humor and delightful wit, Reiner gives new life to this classic Twain tale. The multiple Emmy Award winner and recent Television Hall of Fame inductee beautifully shifts between several accents, dialects and moods, letting listeners commiserate with the author's young protagonist, Tom Canty. Raised in a raucous family of beggars and thieves, Tom dreams and reads of princely life to escape his miserable 16th-century London existence. After wandering to Westminster and meeting benevolent Prince Edward Tudor (who bears an uncanny resemblance to the ragamuffin Tom), the pair exchange clothes and unwittingly identities. Reiner's vocal performance of this heartwarming story is sure to keep the entire family entranced. Listeners will be pleased that this volume is only one of several in a Mark Twain series read by Reiner. (June) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
"Twain was . . . enough of a genius to build his morality into his books, with humor and wit and--in the case of The Prince and the Pauper--wonderful plotting."--E. L. Doctorow
Gr 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