Books

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.

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:

We can’t wait to read it.