Tom and Huck’s Howling Adventure

Written by Tim Champlin
Review by Meg Wiviott

Thirteen-year-old Zane Rasmussen falls into a coma and wakes up in 1849 in the Missouri of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. Zane is quickly befriended by Tom, Huck, and freed slave, Jim, and is immediately pulled into their adventures which includes saving Becky (and later Tom and Huck) from kidnappers, piloting a canoe down the Mississippi River, camping in the wild, joining a wagon train heading to California for the Gold Rush, and venturing into Indian territory.

Champlin’s work is a mash up of Mark Twain’s classics (The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn) and his interest in time travel (A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court). But time travel can be tricky. In terms of writing craft, the entire premise of the story—that a thirteen-year-old boy in 2017 purposely eats a candy bar he knows he is deathly allergic to and thereby falls into a coma and is sent, not only back in time to 1849, but into the fictional lives of Tom Sawyer, et al.—is extraordinarily difficult, and something in which the author falls short. If readers are able to overlook this shortfall, they might enjoy the wild adventures in a time where there was little adult supervision. Champlin ends the book with potential for more adventures with Tom, Huck, Becky, Jim, and Zane, and while there is resolution for Twain’s original characters, there is none for poor Zane, who remains out of his time and, therefore, in a coma.