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The Extraordinary Mark Twain (According To Susy)
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The Extraordinary Mark Twain (According To Susy)

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  760 ratings  ·  211 reviews
From the Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor-winning team behind WHAT TO DO ABOUT ALICE?, a humorous and intimate portrait of the most celebrated writer in America, as told by his thirteen-year-old daughter.

Susy Clemens thought the world was wrong about her papa. They saw Mark Twain as "a humorist joking at everything." But he was so much more, and Susy was determined to set the
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published January 1st 2010 by Scholastic Press
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(showing 1-30 of 1,241)
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Lisa Vegan
Oct 09, 2010 Lisa Vegan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Twain fans; encouraging kids to write; kids who enjoy biographies & kids who have accomplishments
Recommended to Lisa by: Chandra
Wow! I loved this book. This is a true account of how Twain’s 13 year old daughter Susy spent over a year working on a biography of her father.

A bit sad given that Susy died at only 24 years of age, but what I really noticed was how poignantly it showed one example of what it feels like to be the child of a famous parent.

Twain was a very funny man and Susy and this book managed to capture some of that. But Susy was careful to show all facets of her father’s personality and many details about his
Jun 27, 2010 Kathryn rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Kathryn by: Chandra
I really enjoyed Kerley and Fotheringham's What to Do about Alice?: How Alice Roosevelt Broke the Rules, Charmed the World, and Drove Her Father Teddy Crazy! and I have enjoyed many of Twain's books so I was very excited when my GoodReads friend Chandra recommended this book to me. I'm pleased to say that it did not disappoint.

I love the idea of a biography of the famous Mark Twain being told from a young person's perspective--and that of his daughter, no less. Best of all, it's TRUE! At age thi
This book would make a fantastic introduction to the life of Mark Twain for nearly any age group. I am not sure that younger students (K-3) would have enough background knowledge to understand who Mark Twain was, but students reading "Tom Sawyer" or "Huckleberry Finn" would enjoy the personal background information on Twain. This book is a book within a book, the larger book being an illustrated biography of Twain (presumably written by Kerley), but the journal entries contained in the smaller b ...more
Mark Twain's 13-year old daughter, Susy, studies him so that she can write a biography that reveals who her father really is. Bold illustrations reflect the time period and the book includes mini-book journal pages with Susy's observations.

Filled with quotes from Twain and Susy, this book accomplishes what Susy set out to do-- creating a richer portrait of her father than most people knew.

I wonder, though, if this book is directed at kids or adults like librarians and teachers. Tips for writing
Sarah Seasor
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Yesli S
A mi me encanta este libro biografico. Este libro se trata del autor famoso Mark Twain. El libro esta escrito en el punto de vista de susy, la hija de Mark Twain. susy explica que su papa es serio,no es chistoso como el mundo piesa.Yo tego un libro de segreto y yo los escondo en mi gabeta.Me pregunto porque tenia tatos ganos el senor twain?quiero recorda que porque el senor twain tiene mucho gatos.yo quiero recordar este libro a Ms. Juan porque ami me encanta y piensoque aeya el bagustar.
Josselin D
Ami me encanta este libro biografico. Este libro se trata de Mark Twain, un actor famoso. El libro esta escrito en el punto de vista, Susy la hija de Mark Twain. Susy explica que su papa es serio no es chistoso como el mundo pienza. Mi esquema es que mi prima Jeovanna tiene un gatito que se llama Chanel. Porque Mark Twain tiene como mil de gatos? Quiero recordar que Susy escribio un libro de su papa. Yo recomiendo este libro a Ms.Juan porque es interesante y creo que le va a gustar.
Grades 3-6

Oh my, I adored this book. Although I expected it to purely be a biography about Mark Twain, it is also about his daughter, Susy Clemens, who wrote a biography about her father when she was 13 years old. This book includes a summary of Susy's biography, as well as excerpts in her own words, misspellings and all. I'm a huge fan of Mark Twain and his humor and this book captures a lot of it. I'd never heard his quote about his annoying guests, or, as he put it, "mentally dead people brou
The Extraordinary Mark Twain (According To Susy) is a nonfiction story about Mark Twain's life from the viewpoint of his daughter Susy. This book would be a good book for students in grades 3 to 4. Teachers could read this book with students when discussing Mark Twain in English class. The students could then do an activity in which they practice writing biographies of their own, using techniques that Susy talks about in the book.
Jordan Croom
The Extraordinary Mark Twain (according to Susy), written by Barbara Kerley and illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham, tells the story of Mark Twain according to his thirteen year old Daughter, Susy Clemens. The young girl, thought that the general public had gotten her father all wrong, so in turn she decided to write her own insightful biographical account of her father Samuel Clemens, or as he was better know, Mark Twain. Kerley’s book brings together a narrative of Susy and her father’s lives, a ...more
It's fascinating to have such a personal glimpse into such a larger-than-life person's home, routine, and family affairs. My five year-old was the one who ended up sitting through this one with me several times.

The pictures were well-done and had a great sense of the time period. I want to look up more of Barbar Kerley's stuff now.
Jaycie Shearer
This biography is very interesting and unique. It is very interactive and told in such an interesting way which makes it very intriguing to the reader. The story is told with facts through the journal entries of his daughter. The stories should be read all together, however they almost tell different versions of the happenings – with different perspectives. The illustrations also went well with the story. Not only did the images help tell the story, but the daughter's journal entries were entere ...more
A really sweet biography by Twain's daughter when she was only 12 or 13. The book has fun illustrations of Twain with his family and inserts of the journal/biography made by his daughter. A fun book to introduce the wonderful Mark Twain.
I love books with long titles.

I love Mark Twain.

I love Barbara Kerley and Edwin Fotheringham's work together.

Throw all of these together, plus a fresh perspective from Mark Twain's own daughter, and I am in heaven. Susy Clemens wrote a biography of her famous dad when she was thirteen-years-old so people could really know the man they thought they knew. Excerpts are cleverly included as mini book inserts. Absolutely delightful- and heartbreaking considering how close they were and her unfortunat
Nov 28, 2014 Jacqulyn rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Mark Twain fans, aspiring writers
Mark Twain’s daughter, Susy, decides to write her father’s biography in her diary. She sets out to write the truest version she can, and it becomes his favorite tribute. Bold full-spread illustrations accompany, and excerpts (misspellings included) from her biography are included in inserts. Author’s notes include brief biographies of Mark Twain and his daughter and their relationship and a biography-writing guide, and rear endpapers include a selected timeline of his life and source notes. Aspi ...more
Beth Nieman
This is a different sort of biography--a story about how a 13-year old girl writes a biography of her famous father, Mark Twain, so that people can get to know that he is more than just a humorist, but also a philosopher.

The book tells about Twain's family and personal life, and interspersed throughout are Susy's telling comments about her beloved Papa. Susy clearly loved and admired her father, but also shared some of his personal faults; for example, she remarks that he has a temper, and is ve
Margo Tanenbaum
Award-winning writer Barbara Kerley, author of the acclaimed picture books Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins and What To Do About Alice, among others, has provided a unique perspective on Mark Twain for young readers by sharing the story of how Twain's 13 year old daughter Susy researched and wrote a biography of her famous father.

She decided to write his biography because people who thought they knew the world-famous writer were "just plain wrong about her papa." Yes, he was a humorist, but Susy
At age 13, Susy, the daughter of Mark Twain, was annoyed that people writing biographies of her father got things wrong. So she decided to write her own biography of her famous father because she truly knew him. At first Susy’s biography was a secret but soon her parents had discovered her book and her father helped by offering quotes at opportune moments. In her biography, Susy told of her father’s childhood, his public side and his private life. She documented his finer qualities and also his ...more
The Extraordinary Mark Twain, (According to Susy) is a fabulous book that informed me, and made me laugh and cry. Mark Twain’s daughter Susy was a bit of a writer herself and secretly started penning a biography about her famous father. It upset her how few people knew the real Samuel Clements and she wished to set the record straight. Her observations on this multi layered and complex paternal figure were insightful and honest. Mr. Clements and his wife found her biography hidden under her bed ...more
Getting children into biographies is no easy task so I am always on the lookout for biographies that use creative design, interesting subjects, etc. The Extraordinary Mark Twain (According to Susy) is a great example of how to turn what could have been just another biography about Mark Twain into something fun, fresh, exciting and entertaining.

Ms. Kerley discovered that Twain's 13 year old daughter, Susy, had written a biography about her father. This little notebook became the inspiration for K
I am ashamed to admit that as English teacher, I did not know a lot about Mark Twain / Samuel Clemens other than the basics. That being said, this book provided a glimpse into his private life so that I now have a better feeling of who he was as a person. This book is based upon the unfinished biography by Clemens' 13 year old daughter, Susy. (SN: Twain was so delighted with Susy's book that he used it when he wrote his autobiography.) The illustrations are attractive, colorful, and well done an ...more
Frustrated and annoyed by the public opinions and descriptions of her father, Mark Twain's daughter, 13-year-old Susy Clemens, decided that she would right the situation by writing her own biography of her father.

In this wonderful picture book Barbara Kerley offers some basic information about Mark Twain, but cleverly incorporates exerpts from Susy's biography of Twain into her own text by way of smaller insert pages in the form of Susy's journal. This book-within-a-book format is extremely effe
Genre: Biography

Summary: Susy twain is determined to set the record straight about her father, Mark Twain, and writes a biography of his life according to her carful observations.

Critique: A. Unique and refreshing perspective
B. This story is told from the perspective of Susy, which is very intriguing because as his daughter, she knew him outside of his published books and public appearances. Susy wanted readers to know the real Mark Twain, not the person people assumed him to be based on his bo
Summary: This biography of Mark Twain is written by his 13 year old daughter Suzie and is complimented and compiled by the authors. It is a biography within a biography and gives an intimate and interesting portrait of Samuel Clemens - including fun tidbits about his life and personality - like how he threw his shirt on the lawn to alert the housekeeper that they were missing a button, or how he paced while writing. It has a lot of interesting insights into "The Funniest Man in America". A much ...more
Holly M
The Extraordinary Mark Twain (According to Susy) is a picture book about Mark Twain, but it is told from the perspective of one of his daughters, Susy. The book is set up with text and images giving general information about that scene. The book talks about how Susy wanted to create a biography much different from the rest of the biographies of her father. Often, biographies of Mark Twain were filled with public knowledge and mostly of facts that had contributed to the author’s success. Susy was ...more
The Extraordinary Mark Twain is an adorable book, but I'm not quite sure of who the audience is. It's too long (and not at all plot-driven) to be for young children, but I suppose older children and even middle graders could find some joy in it. I think it would be a fantastic book to use to encourage a child to write.

The book contains miniature journals in the pages that must be opened on their own, complete with Susy's own misspellings. The relationship between Susy and her father is perfectl
Sarah Adamson
Mark Twain is one of my most favorite authors, and I think it is important for students to know who he as as a renowned American author. Because Huckleberry Finn is such a popular book, both for its own merit and because of the common practice to make it a required read, students should get a little background information about the author before reading that story in the future. Not every piece of classic literature is a bore, and certainly not any of Mark Twain's stories.
Melody Costa
A biography that will keep a child's attention and prompt them to read more nonfiction. Suzy was Mark Twain's daughter and she kept a journal that turned into her father's biography. She describes her father in ways that only a close family member would be able to. The author, Barbar Kerley, was able to tell the story of Mark Twain while using Suzy's own words. It's easy to tell when Kerley is narrating and when Suzy is because Suzy's parts are in little folds of paper within a two page spread. ...more
McKinzie Elton
With this book I can introduce my students to the biography genre. We could begin by talking about Mark Twain, maybe share a little of his background and some of his most famous books. Then discuss what a biography is. Can the students think of someone that they know really well that they could write about? Let's see how Susie writes a biography of her father. Does she only show his good side?
The Reading Countess
A self-professed Mark Twain fan, he was the focus of one of our articles of the week this year (with the whole censorship issue being raised with his books). One of my student's great uncles wrote a comprehensive book about him and gifted a copy to me: which I am thoroughly enjoying reading through slowly day by day.

This particular Twain text will interest younger readers. Cleverly stuck in between every other page is a replica of his daughter's journal e
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Barbara Kerley was born in Washington, D.C. and has lived in many places, including Seattle (in grad school), Nepal (in the Peace Corps) and the tropical island of Guam (in her bathing suit.) She has written about almost everything: 19th C iguanodons, Teddy Roosevelt, world peace, Mark Twain's donkey, and the simple pleasure of a nice cool drink of water. Visit her website to meet her dog.
More about Barbara Kerley...

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