A never-before-published, previously unfinished Mark Twain children's story is brought to life by Caldecott Medal winners Philip Stead and Erin Stead. In a hotel in Paris one evening in 1879, Mark Twain sat with his young daughters, who begged their father for a story. Choosing a picture from a magazine to get started, Twain began telling them the tale of Johnny, a poor boy in possession of some magical seeds, who finds himself on a quest to rescue a stolen prince. Later, Twain would jot down some rough notes about the story, but the tale was left unfinished...until now. Plucked from the Mark Twain archives at the University of California, Berkeley, Twain's notes now form the foundation of a fairy tale picked up over a century later. With only Twain's fragmentary script and a story that stops partway as his guide, author Philip Stead has written a tale that imagines what might have been if Twain had fully realized this work. This is a story that reaches through time and brings us the debut children's book of America's most legendary writer, envisioned by one of today's most important names in children's literature.
"Completing a story penned by arguably America's greatest author is no easy feat, but the Caldecott-winning author-illustrator (and husband-wife) team proves more than equal to the task.... A pensive and whimsical work that Twain would applaud." (Kirkus)
"A cast of eccentric characters, celestially fine writing, and a crusade against pomp that doesn't sacrifice humor." (Publishers Weekly)