Download The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine Audiobook

The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine Audiobook, by Mark Twain Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Mark Twain, Philip C. Stead Narrator: Philip C. Stead, Keegan-Michael Key Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2017 ISBN: 9780525498698
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A never-before-published, previously unfinished Mark Twain children’s story is brought to life by Caldecott Medal winners Philip Stead and Erin Stead.

In a hotel in Paris one evening in the 1879, Mark Twain sat with his young daughters, who begged their father for a story. Choosing a picture from a magazine to get started, Twain began telling them the tale of Johnny, a poor boy in possession of some magical seeds, who finds himself on a quest to rescue a stolen prince. Later, Twain would jot down some rough notes about the story, but the tale was left unfinished—until now.

Plucked from the Mark Twain archives at the University of California, Berkeley, Twain’s notes now form the foundation of a fairy tale picked up over a century later. With only Twain’s fragmentary script and a story that stops partway as his guide, author Philip Stead has written a tale that imagines what might have been if Twain had fully realized this work.

This is a story that reaches through time and brings us the debut children’s book of America’s most legendary writer, envisioned by one of today’s most important names in children’s literature.

Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • “[A] funny, rollicking story from a set of notes by Mark Twain. Stead capably voices the humorous chapter introductions and author asides, which provide a framework for the fable. Keegan-Michael Key narrates the tale …[and] Key’s combination of verve and gentleness reflects Johnny’s sweet nature and willingness to set off on a great adventure. Mark Bramhall delights as the crotchety Twain, who argues with Stead over story details between chapters. With Julia Whelan and Frances Gilbert performing as Susy Clemens and the voice of the Editor’s Note, this production creates a unique audio experience and maintains the unusual format of the text without sacrificing clarity.”


  • “Will capture the imaginations of readers of all ages.”

    USA Today (4 out of four stars)

  • “Should inspire readers young and old to seek further adventures with Twain.”

    Washington Post

  • “The combination of Twain’s (often sarcastic) humor and ‘lessons of life,’ a touch of allegory, and Stead’s own storytelling skills result in an awesome piece of fantasy.”

    School Library Journal (starred review)

  • “Samuel Langhorne Clemens himself would be proud.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • A Listening Library Pick of Notable Children's Recordings
  • A School Library Journal Best Book of 2017

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About the Author

Mark Twain, pseudonym of Samuel L. Clemens (1835–1910), was born in Florida, Missouri, and grew up in Hannibal on the west bank of the Mississippi River. He attended school briefly and then at age thirteen became a full-time apprentice to a local printer. When his older brother Orion established the Hannibal Journal, Samuel became a compositor for that paper and then, for a time, an itinerant printer. With a commission to write comic travel letters, he traveled down the Mississippi. Smitten with the riverboat life, he signed on as an apprentice to a steamboat pilot. After 1859, he became a licensed pilot, but two years later the Civil War put an end to the steam-boat traffic.

In 1861, he and his brother traveled to the Nevada Territory where Samuel became a writer for the Virginia City Territorial Enterprise, and there, on February 3, 1863, he signed a humorous account with the pseudonym Mark Twain. The name was a river man’s term for water “two fathoms deep” and thus just barely safe for navigation.

In 1870 Twain married and moved with his wife to Hartford, Connecticut. He became a highly successful lecturer in the United States and England, and he continued to write.

About the Narrators

Philip C. Stead is the author of the highly acclaimed Caldecott Medal–winning book A Sick Day for Amos McGee, among other books.

Keegan-Michael Key is a voice talent and audiobook narrator.