Kerley and Fotheringham again craft a masterfully perceptive and largely visual biography, this time about the iconic 19th-century American writer. In pursuit of truth, Susy Clemens, age 13, vows to set the record straight about her beloved (and misunderstood) father and becomes his secret biographer. Kerley uses Susy's manuscript and snippets of wisdom and mirth from Twain's copious oeuvre as fodder for her story. The child's journal entries, reproduced in flowing handwritten, smaller folio inserts, add a dynamic and lovely pacing to the narrative, which includes little-known facts about Twain's work. The text flawlessly segues into Susy's carefully recorded, sometimes misspelled, details of his character, intimate life, and work routine during his most prolific years....A delightful primer on researching and writing biographies, and a joy to peruse.
School Library Journal, starred review
Kerley's conversational, quotation-rich narration effectively complements Susy's insights, and the result is an affectionate portrait of Twain as writer and family man…. Fotheringham's dynamically composed, digitally created full-bleed illustrations, both inventive and appealing, effectively recall the 19th-century setting, and big, swirling lines reflect the flourishes of an ink pen…. A heartwarming tribute to both the writing life in general and the well-loved humorist-oops, sorry Susy… "Pholosopher!"
Kirkus, starred review
Kerley and Fotheringham (What to Do About Alice?) pair up again to offer a behind-the-scenes glimpse of another famous family…. Kerley contextualizes the teenager's admiring musings with vivid familial backdrops…. Adding dynamic flair...are curlicues representing words, which emanate wildly from pen tips, pages, and mouths. Author notes about Susy and her father, a time line of Twain's life, and tips for writing an "extraordinary biography" complete this accessible and inventive vision of an American legend.
Publishers Weekly, starred review