One of the most popular novels of nineteenth century America, Tom Sawyer evokes an endless innocence, delights in spontaneous acts of heroism and chivalry and is an unparalleled celebration of childhood. Tom is one of the 'bad' boys of his home town, St Petersburg, Missouri. Reckless, lazy, maddeningly inquisitive, he is a poor scholar and a menace to his Aunt Polly. His schemes for avoiding work, school and punishment are quite sublime. In his own world, however, the world of rivers, forests, caves and islands, he is in his element; even something of a hero. Its careful balance between nostalgia and cruelty, its rich vein of humour and its re-creation of a sunny world where the spirit can be free, have placed this tale of boyhood adventure forever in the hearts and minds of all its readers.