'It's lovely to live on a raft. We had the sky up there, all speckled with stars, and we used to lay on our backs and look up at them'
Huck Finn spits, swears, smokes a pipe and never goes to school. With his too-big clothes and battered straw hat, Huck is in need of 'civilising', and the Widow Douglas is determined to take him in hand. And wouldn't you know, Huck's no-good Pap is also after him and he locks Huck up in his cabin in the woods. But Huck won't stand too much of this, and after a daring escape, he takes off down the Mississppi on a raft with an runaway slave called Jim. But plenty of dangers wait for them along the river - will they survive and win their freedom?
BACKSTORY: Discover how to write secret messages in code, and learn about the extraordinary Mark Twain.
Huckleberry Finn is one of the great American novels, brilliantly written by Mark Twain. Huck had a terrible childhood and a drunken father and when he runs away, he is truly alone in the world. The relationship between him and the escaped slave, Jim, is just marvellous
Finn is a brilliantly imagined mixture of wilyness and innocence
All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn...There was nothing before. There has been nothing as good since
For a hundred years, the argument that this novel is has been identified, reidentified, examined, waged and advanced. What it cannot be is dismissed. It is classic literature, which is to say it heaves, manifests and lasts.
So what makes these different to any other set of classics? In a moment of inspiration Random House had the bright idea of actually asking Key stage 2 children what extra ingredients they could add to make children want to read. And does it work? Well, put it this way...my 13-year-old daughter announced that she had to read a book over the summer holiday and, without any prompting, spotted The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas...and proceeded to read it! Now, if you knew my 13-year-old daughter, you would realise that this is quite remarkable. She reads texts, blogs and tags by the thousand - but this is the first book she has read since going to high school, so all hail Vintage Classics!