I love Mark Twain, but had no idea this book existed until I received it as a gift. Twain made up stories for his daughters from time to time, but he didn't always write them down. In the case of The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine, he wrote most of it down,...but never wrote the ending.
Enter Caldecott Medal winners Philip Stead and his wife, Erin Stead.
Philip Stead finished the tale and included, as part of the tale, short segments in the story where he's conversing with Twain and talking about how the story is progressing. It's quite wonderful.
As enjoyable as the story is, it wouldn't be complete without the beautiful illustrations of Erin Stead. From the cover of the book to the smallest image of the tiniest animal on the inside, the visuals are a delight. My favorite is the image of the old fairy and the skunk, but I love them all.
Now, it just so happens that my friend also gave me something else to go along with the book. It was something she knew I'd love. She bought an old, wood-carved book holder from England to display my beautiful gift in my library.