Bambino and Mr. Twain book cover image

Bambino and Mr. Twain

  • 1595

By: P.I. Maltbie / Illustrated by: Daniel Miyares

LOST: Mark Twain's Cat

After the death of his beloved wife, Samuel Clemens—known to his fans as Mark Twain—holed himself up in his house, too sad to face the outside world. His constant companion in his grief was Bambino, his daughter Clara’s cat. Despite the pleas of his daughter Jean and the well wishes of his friends and admirers, Sam could not find joy in life. His only peace was in the moments he spent with the curious cat.

Then one day Bambino got out of the house to chase a squirrel and didn’t come back. Distraught, Sam placed an ad in the newspaper offering a reward for Bambino’s return. Many people with many cats came to his door. The world wanted to cheer up Mark Twain. No cat but Bambino could console the great writer, however.

Rich, luminous illustrations highlight this friendship of a man and his cat in a time of great sorrow and through his healing. Nothing compares to the solace of a pet.

Look Inside the Book:

Author & Illustrator Bios:

P.I. Maltbie, author

The late P.I. Maltbie admired Mark Twain since she was in elementary school--especially as they shared a love of both writing and animals. After Priscilla wrote her first children's picture book, Picasso and Minou she did some digging and found out about the real Bambino's leap into the newspaper headlines in 1905--and so Bambino and Mr. Twain was born. Priscilla also authored Claude Monet: The Painter Who Stopped the Trains.

Read more about Priscilla.

Daniel Miyares, illustrator

Daniel Miyares's first run-in with Mark Twain was when he read "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" as a teenager. Having grown up in the South, right away he felt Twain's short story was written just for him--he knew each character, and they spoke his language. These days Daniel illustrates the literature he loves so much, including Neil Sedaka's picture book Waking Up Is Hard to Do. He lives in Roeland Park, Kansas, with his wife, Lisa, their daughter, Stella, and Buddy, the family dog.

Read more about Daniel.

Awards & Honors:

  • California Collection

Editorial Reviews:

Publishers Weekly

Maltbie returns to the theme of Picasso and Minou (2008), telling a second cat-and-artist story, a historical anecdote from the archives of Mark Twain. Recently widowed, the writer roams his New York City brownstone, refusing visits from well-wishers and grousing at his daughter's cat as it swats billiard balls back at him across a dramatically foreshortened table. "Bambino," he tells the cat, "you'd make a champion billiards player if you could only hold a cue." When Bambino darts out a window, Twain advertises for the lost cat in every New York newspaper, and admirers of his work throng to his house, offering him their own cats, as well as strays, as consolation. "We can spare him for a few days," offers on visitor, "if it keeps you from being sad." In crisp-edged mixed-media illustrations, Miyares (Waking Up is Hard To Do) uses cinematic angles to create effect, as when Bambino returns and Twain is viewed from above, holding him up in triumph. Although it portrays a Twain whose writing days are behind him, it's an unexpectedly moving introduction to his sardonic wit.


As she did in Picasso and Minou (2005), Maltbie imagines a cat's buoyant effect upon a famous artist, in this case Mark Twain. Grieving the death of his beloved wife and editor, the author moves to New York City in the fall of 1904. He stops writing and refuses all company except that of Bambino, a black cat given to him by his daughter. When Bambino jumps out of a window to chase a squirrel one spring day, an ad with a $5 reward (an average week's salary) is placed in the paper. Hoping to console and catch a glimpse of their favorite author, Twain's admirers stop by with feline replacements. Touched by these well-wishers and Bambino's eventual return, Twain rejoins society and begins donning a white suit year round, which became his trademark. Miyares's digital and mixed media illustrations use color and shadow to represent Twain's moods, while an author's note provides facts about the author and the real Bambino. A heartfelt introduction to an American icon and his wit.


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ISBN: 978-1-58089-272-8

ISBN: 978-1-60734-072-0 PDF
For information about purchasing E-books, click here.

Ages: 5-8
Page count: 40
10 x 8

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