Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Mark Twain's unfinished children's story to be released this year


A fairytale originally created by legendary writer Mark Twain, the mind behind The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, will hit the shelves on 26 September this year.

The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine spanned from a bedtime story Twain told his young daughters, Clara and Susie, in a hotel in Paris nearly 140 years ago, which was about poor boy who eats a magical flower and is able to talk to animals. And it must’ve been a good one, because the iconic author took notes from the magical tale with the idea of writing his own full-length book.

Unfortunately this never came to fruition, and was thought to be lost in history. That was until scholar John Bird was hunting through the Twain archives at the University of California, where he came across the original notes for Twain’s only ever children’s fable.

Twain notes

Mark Twain's original notes

But instead of whacking it straight on eBay, Bird brought it to the attention of the Mark Twain House and Museum, who sold it to Doubleday Books for Young Readers. It will now gain new life thanks to author Phillip Stead and illustrator Erin Stead, who picked up where Twain left off, expanding the story about a poor boy called Johnny whose magical seeds lead to a 152-page mystical adventure.

Here are some of the illustrations you can expect to see from Erin Stead:

Twain 3
Twain 1
Twain 2

We can’t wait to read it.



These are the books Barack Obama says everyone should read this year


Here's the greatest music, TV, film & books according to David Bowie


The best new books of 2017



These bored book store employees deserve all the Instagram followers

Bookface goes French at Librairie Mollat

by Dave Fawbert
21 Mar 2017

Philip Pullman has just saved us all from Real Life

Here's what we know about 'Book of Dust'

15 Feb 2017

Orwell’s 1984 book sales spike after Trump’s inauguration

We've gone full blown Orwellian now

by Jamie Carson
25 Jan 2017

These are the books Barack Obama says everyone should read this year

Be like Barack

by Sam Diss
17 Jan 2017

The best new books of 2017

New year, new reads

by Sam Diss
04 Jan 2017

Donald Ray Pollock: Inside the mind of a nightmare specialist

Modern master of disturbing prose on the moments from page & screen that made him who he is

05 Oct 2016

Harry Potter fans can now discover their Patronus

Don't lie, you want to give it a go, don't you?

by David Cornish
23 Sep 2016

20 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About Stephen King

21 Sep 2016

Your chance to see excellent US author Donald Ray Pollock

And also have a beer! Win win

08 Sep 2016

Return to a nineties classic: Chuck Palahniuk on Fight Club

20 years since Fight Club, the author tells us how he’d rewrite his seminal novel for 2016

17 Aug 2016