Back in January, Random House Children’s Books announced that an unpublished and unfinished Mark Twain story from 1879 had been found and completed by Philip and Erin Stead, authors of the award winning children’s book A Sick Day for Amos McGee. Now available, The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine follows Johnny, a young boy who gains the ability to talk to animals after eating a magical flower, and his newfound animal friends on their journey to rescue the kidnapped Prince Oleomargarine.
Image via Bustle
Prince Oleomargarine originated in a Parisian hotel in 1879, when Twain’s daughters begged him for a story. Taking inspiration from a photograph in a magazine, Twain told them Johnny’s tale, later jotting down some notes after the fact.
Using sixteen pages of Twain’s handwritten notes, the Steads brought Twain’s fairytale to life over a century later, ultimately resulting in a beautifully illustrated book with 160 pages across eleven chapters. Prince Oleomargarine is a wonderful homage to the iconic author. Philip and Erin Stead channelled Twain’s style, humor, and satirical playfulness to create a classic tale that will sit comfortably on today’s bookshelves.
In an exclusive behind-the-scenes video with Bustle, the couple documents the momentous discovery of the manuscript and Philip and Erin Stead’s experience writing and illustrating the book.
Featured image via the Daily Mail.