This review applies specifically to the April 2010, Sterling Edition, illustrated by Robert Ingpen:
I'm beginning to feel quite frustrated with the limited publishing information given to books on Amazon. For example, most books where you may click to "look inside" will default to the most common paperback. For books like Tom Sawyer, that is fine if you need the book for high school English class, where any copy cheap enough to write notes in the margins will do. I wanted a copy of Tom Sawyer to keep and love. I saw this publication on Amazon, but it had so little info and the one review given was a single sentence about the general value of Twain's story. The truth is, one doesn't buy this particular printing unless one is already convinced of it's literary excellency! So I am about to do Amazon a huge favor by telling you what it didn't tell me. For about $15, the asking price at the time of this review, you can invest in a real treat for your self or someone you love and wish to inspire.
This printing was meant to mark the one hundredth anniversary of Twain's death (2010). The story is unabridged, provided in full original text. It is positively rich with watercolor illustrations by Robert Ingpen. I just skimmed through the book looking for one that I especially liked, but I couldn't pick just one. In design, they are exactly as I would have dreamed them to be. Barefoot Tom, balancing a piece of straw on his nose, Huck Finn with a dead cat, Tom and puppy in church, Injun Joe- terrifying....each one pulls me in to read the text. The fabulous, wrapping cover art is also printed at the end of the book, so won't be lost if the dust jacket is damaged. The sewn binding is well constructed and the book lays nearly flat when open, so you may enjoy all of the pictures and layout without damaging the book. The inclusion of a pale blue place marking ribbon is a lovely touch. There is a thoughtful biography of Mark Twain proceeding the story. Also, provided are the author's and illustrators notes.
I have a boy, six going on seven. He is a reader and is happy to consume Magic Tree House and Box Car Children books at alarming speed under the covers at night when he is supposed to be asleep. I'll admit I was missing our former habit of reading together. So we read classics aloud together as a family. For less money than a video game this book will provide hours of family entertainment. I hope my son will be inspired to read it again and again. It will have a place in our library and be a reference for years to come. It is heirloom quality. It would make a very special gift to a favorite boy of any age. In fact, I am considering getting another copy for my father, who loves Twain.
Incidentally, not being able to ascertain the quality of this book through the Amazon web site, I went to a little local bookstore where I could put my hands on it first. I ended up buying it there, paying full price- about $5 more than Amazon was asking. They wrapped the book for free in nice heavy paper and since there was no shipping- I think I came out better for it. Before my son had opened this package, he knew it was a book to be awed by. Awesome it is- mostly for Mark Twains' masterful kntting of prose, but also for the cover and publishing.