Advice to Little Girls, Mark Twain with illustrations by Vladimir Radunsky

As an adult, I seem to have developed a gift for wasting time when I have it, only to run headfirst into a pile of deadlines and travel I have known about for two months. I don’t know when this happened. When I was a child, I was meticulous about assignments. I won awards for punctuality and perfect attendance every year. I was the person my friends called at ten pm the night before something was due in a panic; to this day, I have no idea what they thought I could do for them, but as I slide further behind (and it’s only Monday!), I suspect it had less to do with seeking guidance than it did warding off the problem for another half an hour.

I myself have become excellent at warding off the problem for another half an hour. I do find myself wishing I spent less of this procrastinatory time trolling the internet for recorded productions of Much Ado About Nothing and more of it picking up the house or going for a run, because at the end of the day, it’s one thing to have unfinished piles of work, and quite another to have unfinished piles of work and also no clean underwear or spoons.

Not to worry though – I went to Target for new clothes and ate my coconut milk ice cream with a fork, so I’m good on that front at least. As for the work, well, let’s just claim that it’s percolating and watch this video for the seventieth time. I justified re-watching it this morning because Catherine Tate inadvertently does such a wonderful job bringing to life the spirit of this little book by Mark Twain (and if you’re a fan of Dr Who and/or familiar with Shakespeare, the clip is especially a treat). When I saw it for the first time, I was immediately reminded of this page from the book:

Even though the book is only twenty or so pages, I love Mark Twain was tickled to stumble on this little gem. The book itself is lovely, and I’m glad I bought a hardbound copy of it so I can enjoy what has been done with the text. I’m a sucker for picture books, and it’s great to find one well-suited for an older audience (there’s nothing quite like reading a book to a child and snickering at jokes they don’t yet understand as retribution for having to read much stupider stories ad nauseam).

Most of the books I read, I read for content, story, characters, etc…this one is more of a collectible. It suits the part of me that doesn’t mind that I grew up going to visit the homes of famous writers on every family vacation (what did other families do – hike? ride water slides? I really have no idea, but I knew what a docent did by the age of four). Its arrival on my doorstep also perfectly coincided with a week from hell, and nothing makes a hard week brighter than a dose of what my husband calls “old-timey” humor. So excuse me while I go use my time as unwisely as possible – Twain’s told me it’s alright, and look how well he did for himself…

The full text of the story can be found here (because public domain = yay!).

7 thoughts on “Advice to Little Girls, Mark Twain with illustrations by Vladimir Radunsky

  1. What? Unfair! Only Emily Dickinson, Herman Melville, Louisa May Alcott, Robert Frost, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Robert Louis Stevenson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Sarah Orne Jewett … OK I guess you have a point.

    1. The diorama room in the Alcott house scarred me for about six years, just so you know. One sister trying to cut another sister’s foot out of concrete with a butcher’s knife is not the stuff of a child’s dream vacation :)

  2. I’ve never met another soul who admitted to eating coconut milk ice cream with a fork. I think that means we’re meant to be best friends, personally. Eating ice cream with a fork is the only way to go. And who wants dairy anyway? ;)

    1. Yes! High five! Until I found coconut milk ice cream, I really missed dairy. I have to say though, that stuff is so good (and undoubtedly terrible for me) that real ice cream no longer mocks me. Mostly. Although I am going to a birthday party this weekend which promises ice cream cake, and I do miss that. I wonder if it’s possible to make ice cream cake with coconut milk…that seems like something we should attempt.

      1. It’s totally got to be possible. Coconut milk is so good for you. Great MCFA in there. Awesome stuff.

        WAAAAY better than dairy! Let’s figure this cake idea out and do a mutual blog post on it :)

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