The One and Only Sam

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 1–3—Sam is curious about language. He notices when his parents say something that does not seem to make sense, such as when he hears them use the phrase "It's raining cats and dogs." After some initial confusion, he is able to work out what they mean. He starts looking out for idioms and, with his parents' help, he develops strategies to grasp their meaning. Stalker's text is fairly didactic, providing a vignette on each spread that usually includes an idiom opposite an explanation that occasionally includes information on its history. Stiff, unattractive line drawings illustrate the text. The vignettes often seem forced, with the story line heavily influenced by the expressions rather than led by the plot or characters. Since children with communication difficulties often take language literally, this way of explaining idioms may be helpful to them. However, the story is not developed enough to recommend for general reading. Nothing can beat the humor and pure delight of Peggy Parish's "Amelia Bedelia" books (HarperCollins) for introducing children to the world of idioms.—Wendy Smith-D'Arezzo, Loyola College, Baltimore, MD
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781849050401
  • Publisher: Kingsley, Jessica Publishers
  • Publication date: 11/15/2009
  • Pages: 64
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.40 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 17, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    How to help literal-minded children understand and apply metaphors

    We all grow up in a world of metaphors so frequently and unconsciously used by adults that English occupational therapist Aileen Stalker calls them "idioms." Examples in her children's book range from, "It's raining cats and dogs through "Get cold feet" to "Wild about" something." *** Some children, notably those with Asperger Syndrome and other communication disorders, have vastly more trouble imagining and using metaphorical language than others. Parents need to be patient with them. Sound out the puzzling phrase, e.g., "It's raining cats and dogs." Help the child imagine a sky in which cats and dogs are falling. What do we really mean by that phrase? Great big visible drops of rain come pouring down. Help your child apply this and dozens of other idioms in his classroom and playground. *** The book THE ONE AND ONLY SAM is meant to be read and enjoyed by children aged 5 to 8. Sam's parents use idioms without thinking about them. Young Sam says, in effect, whoa! I don't get it. Mom and Dad then consciously introduce Sam to the rich world of non-literal language and allusion he will have to grow up into. Sam gets the point. *** The illustrations by Bob Spencer are clear enough, but the figures are very stiff. There is little in this book for adults. You might want to read it to or with a young daughter or grandson and see how they react to a world in which grownups use metaphors almost as often as they produce literal descriptions of situations. -OOO-

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