Jackhammer Sam

( 1 )

Overview

Atta-RATTA-batta-blam!

Jackhammer Sam isn't just any old construction worker—he's the sidewalk blasting man.  He stops traffic, splits the sidewalk, and digs right down to the subway, all the while singing his song: Atta-RATTA-binga-bong. Atta-RATTA-pinga-pong.

Lively illustrations by David Catrow portray a larger-than-life construction worker (and the bystanders who become caught up in his destruction) in hilarious detail as he ...

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Overview

Atta-RATTA-batta-blam!

Jackhammer Sam isn't just any old construction worker—he's the sidewalk blasting man.  He stops traffic, splits the sidewalk, and digs right down to the subway, all the while singing his song: Atta-RATTA-binga-bong. Atta-RATTA-pinga-pong.

Lively illustrations by David Catrow portray a larger-than-life construction worker (and the bystanders who become caught up in his destruction) in hilarious detail as he choppa-chops his way through the city streets, outer space, and beyond in this fun and frenetic tribute to road workers of all kinds.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The star of this show is a proud, beefy New York City jackhammer operator—a “sidewalk blasting man.” He may be a legend in his own mind (“My hammer broke th’ break of day./ My hammer drained the Milky Way”), but readers will have to hand it to him: he’s taken full ownership of the disruption he wreaks on the city with his “ATTA-RATTA-TATTA-BAM./ ATTA-RATTA-BATTA-BLAM.” (Readers will also have to hand it to New Yorkers, most of whom seem unperturbed by the racket—a police officer even smiles in solidarity, like one king of the hill to another). Mandel (Bun, Onion, Burger) occasionally jars with a meter misfire, but he’s captured the patois of the Big Apple’s working class, and his text should bring out the performer in even the most mild-mannered Midwesterner. Catrow (the Max Spaniel series), the magical realist of children’s literature, is wholly in his element with this character—Sam is by turns brutish and balletic, possessing both a jelly belly and twinkle toes. Like New York City itself, Sam is wonderful and overwhelming, rattling and mesmerizing. Ages 4–7. (Nov.)
From the Publisher
“Bouncy rhyming text, kinetic and colorful art, and a lively construction worker make for a peppy read with a tall-tale flair.” —Booklist

 

“With its ceaseless rhythm, the story begs to be read aloud, making this a useful book for community helpers, city, and noise themes.” —School Library Journal

 

“Construction equipment is always a popular topic for the preschool set, so a book about a jackhammer is sure to be a hit with this crowd.” —Horn Book

 

“An endearing ode to an oft–grumbled-about profession.” —Kirkus Reviews

Mary Harris Russell
Jackhammer Sam, the title page pictures reveal, lives in New York City, but any sidewalk will do for a child's imagination. ATTA-RATTA-TATTA-BAM./ D'ya know who I am? Well, if a new Walt Whitman broke up sidewalks with a jackhammer, this is exactly what his Song of Myself would be. Sam's living large, in many ways: I use my belly on the job./ It shakes like jelly (or a blob). In a world filled with noise, loud 'n strong, Jackhammer Sam gets to do what children are often told not to: rhythmic, energetic, celebratory shouting.
—The Chicago Tribune
Children's Literature - Carlee Hallman
This story of a jackhammer operator is filled with sounds imitating the noise of a jackhammer. The text is full of contractions and bad grammar. "You may try to cross the street, But there's a crack b'neath your feet. ?Cause I choppa-chop-concrete. (An' I do not chop it neat.)" Jack eats lunch while stopping traffic and drills through sewers, steam pipes, and oil pipes. The text ends with: "ATTA-RATTA-TATTA-BAM. ATTA-RATTA-BATTA-BLAM" plus eight more similar sounds and "Th' name is Jackhammer Sam, and that's my song." The illustrations of an obese jackhammer operator tearing up sidewalks, streets, sewers, subways, the Rocky Mountains, and finally the Milky Way is somewhat humorous although the obese Sam is shown as totally repulsive. The end pages of ants filing across a sidewalk with plants coming up in the cracks is beautifully done as is the frontispiece of a bridge at sunset with gulls flying with a sailboat and tug boats on the water beneath. Making a joke of stupidity is hardly commendable. This is not recommended for children. Reviewer: Carlee Hallman
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3—In the mold of Kate and Jim McMullan's I Stink (HarperCollins, 2002), this is an oversize, onomatopoeia-filled vision of the construction worker who wields the jackhammer. The constant "atta-ratta-tatta" rhythm of the rhyming text matches the frenetic energy of Catrow's comical illustrations, full of scratchy lines and people so caricatured that they border on the grotesque. Jackhammer Sam brags about the power his percussive drill gives him as he sends people, baby carriages, even cars and buildings flying into the air, and he presents himself as a tall-tale hero: "My hammer drilled a giant's tooth" and "broke th' break of day." Sam is a caricature himself, with a big belly that he rests on his jackhammer while reading a book. With its ceaseless rhythm, the story begs to be read aloud, making this a useful book for community helpers, city, and noise themes.—Kathleen Kelly MacMillan, Carroll County Public Library, MD
Kirkus Reviews
"ATTA-RATTA-BATTA-BLAM." Readers hear Jackhammer Sam before they see him. He's "the sidewalk blasting man." To most, his choppa-chops are loud and obnoxious, but to him, it's a sweet, sweet melody. As he blasts through concrete on sidewalks above and subways below, he invites readers to sing along: "ATTA-RATTA-BINGA-BONG. / ATTA-RATTA-MIGHT-BE-LONG. / ATTA-RATTA-PINGA-PONG. / ATTA-RATTA-DINGA-DONG." Filled with rhythmic onomatopoeia and pulsating beats, it's no wonder Jackhammer Sam waltzes while he works. The roly-poly, lovable construction worker radiates joy, while everyone else around him jumps in surprise or winces in pain at the shattering noise. (Of course, per Catrow's signature illustrative style, wide, bulging eyes abound.) Sam takes such pride in his work that he boasts, "My hammer broke th' break of day. / My hammer drained the Milky Way." Besides simply reveling in the rowdy beats, young readers should also glean that every job is important and if you love what you do, you'll do it well. An endearing ode to an oft–grumbled-about profession. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781596430341
  • Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
  • Publication date: 11/8/2011
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 4 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 11.10 (w) x 8.70 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter Mandel grew up in Manhattan, where he watched neighborhood skyscrapers going up and checked out every jackhammer on the block. He now writes about jackhammers and a host of other things for children. He lives in Providence, Rhode Island.

 

Growing up in Detroit, Michigan, David Catrow got pretty good at sneaking into construction sites and as a result, his initials and handprints appear on several blocks of Detroit sidewalk. Since then, he has illustrated more than seventy books for children, including his own Max Spaniel series. He lives in Springfield, Ohio.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2012

    Our little guys loved Jackhammer Sam. A fantastic read-aloud!!

    Our little guys loved Jackhammer Sam. A fantastic read-aloud!!

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