The Extraordinary Mark Twain (According to Susy) by Barbara Kerley, illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham
When Mark Twain’s (Samuel Clemens) daughter, Susy, was 13 years old, she wrote a biography about her father. Susy watched her father and recorded things about him – appearance, family life, work habits, and some of the discussions they had.
Susy learned about writing from her father, and was careful to mention positive things and not so positive things about him. Twain said, “This is a frank biographer and an honest one…” in referring to Susy and her biography of him.
This picture book details some of the topics and events found in Susy’s biography of her father. Fotheringham’s colorful illustrations compliment the text. The book also has several smaller ‘journal’ pieces that the reader can open and see excerpts from Susy’s journal.
“It troubles me to have so few people know Papa, I mean really know him,” Susy said.
“I never saw a man with so much variety of feeling as Papa has,” Susy said, and she was determined to set the record straight.
This is a fun picture book about a famous author who contributed so much to American literature – and about the daughter who loved him. I enjoyed reading Susy’s thoughts on her father, and about the sorts of things their family did – like spending summers at an aunt’s farm.
“And so, people finally got just what Susy thought they needed: a portrait of the funny, serious, absentminded, cat-loving, billiard-playing, philosophical Papa – the extraordinary Mark Twain, according to Susy.”