Grade 5 Up-British actor Mike McShane provides a superb portrayal of Mark Twain's classic characters, nailing the Mississippi drawl and cadence. For those who know and love the story or are following along with an unabridged edition, however, this production is marred somewhat by what the publisher has chosen to leave out. The more descriptive chapters are shortened or expurgated entirely, which is understandable in the interest of editing for time. Some of the more distasteful racial epithets are gone as well, although Injun Joe retains his moniker. Sid and Mary are also cut entirely, as well as references to smoking, slavery, most of Tom's ludicrously funny romantic notions about the violence inflicted by pirates and robbers, and even the naked figure in the schoolmaster's anatomy book. The result is a watered down Tom and, especially, Huck. The ending also lacks the satisfaction of the original version. The party scene where the fortune is revealed has been cut as has Twain's concluding paragraphs which "endeth this chronicle." It lacks even the closure of the customary, "You have been listening to-." The sturdy plastic case will survive many circulations. If your facility serves an elementary-age population for which the language of the original would not be appropriate, or there is a teacher looking for a sanitized version, McShane's excellent performance makes this edition worth recommending.
Diana Dickerson, White Pigeon Community Schools, MI
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.