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Rasmussen, R. Kent. Mark Twain for kids; his life & times: 21 activities.

RASMUSSEN, R. Kent. Mark Twain for kids; his life & times: 21 activities. Chicago Review Press, dist. by Independent Publishers Group. 146p. illus. bibliog. index. c2004. 1-55652-527-3. $14.95. J

An unusual activity book, this inviting volume draws on Mark Twain's most popular scenarios for creative ideas that range from making a Mississippi sternwheeler to cooking Missouri-fried corn pone. Commentary on Pudd'nhead Wilson refers to Twain's introduction of fingerprinting to detective lore. A simple experiment shows readers how to collect fingerprints on plain glass for study under magnification and how to fashion a plumb line out of string and a fishing lead. Photos identify important people in Twain's life, including his mother, his four daughters, and Horace Bixby, the pilot who introduced him to navigation on the ever-shifting Mississippi River.

Peripheral commentary explains Twain's family life, his involvement with the Civil War, friendship with Helen Keller, construction of a home in Hartford, Connecticut, and his connection with a neighbor, author Harriet Beecher Stowe. More sophisticated activities include careful reading of an anecdote to reveal a hoax, composing aphorisms, and testing male and female subjects to study gendered methods of threading a needle. Less imaginative are instructions for writing a travel letter, collecting superstitions and idiomatic speech, critiquing a movie, and making a scrapbook. Mary Ellen Snodgrass, Hickory, NC
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Author:Snodgrass, Mary Ellen
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Nov 1, 2004
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