Sunday, November 2, 2014

Book Review: See You Around, Sam! by Lois Lowry (1996)

When Sam comes home from nursery school wearing plastic fangs given to him by a classmate, his mother confesses her "fang-phobia" and insists that he not wear them in her sight. Astounded by this injustice, Sam decides to run away from home, but not before stopping in to see all his favorite neighbors.

Running away is a pretty common theme in children's books, and it is a threat most kids make at some point. What is so clever about this book, though, is the way it can be read on two levels. Readers who are Sam's age may fully believe he plans to run away, while those as old as Anastasia or older will recognize the ploys the adults use to keep him close to home while encouraging him to stay. (Lotta on Troublemaker Street does a similar thing, but See You Around, Sam really perfects it.) Sam's growing realization that fangs are actually not that comfortable and his slow change of heart about his desire to leave home are so true to life, and parent readers will undoubtedly recognize some of Sam's traits and behaviors as similar to those exhibited by their own kids.

This book is really the ideal chapter book to read as a family, especially when a child is four or five years old. Lowry really understands how the preschool mind works, but she makes sure to also provide a few knowing nods toward the parents as well, which makes the reading experience a true pleasure for all ages. 

This is definitely the best of the Sam books.  I hope this series will also be given new covers so these wonderful books will catch the eyes of a new audience.

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