Sam and Charlie (and Sam Too!)


When Charlie moves next door to Sam, he's thrilled to have a new friend--even if she is a girl. Charlie has a little sister, also named Sam--or Sam Too, as the other Sam comes to call her. Both Sam and Charlie (and Sam Too) are Jewish, and they try to live by the religion's motto: Love your neighbor as yourself. The five brief stories in this book, accompanied by colorful illustrations, highlight the value of friendship and its ups and downs.
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When Charlie moves next door to Sam, he's thrilled to have a new friend--even if she is a girl. Charlie has a little sister, also named Sam--or Sam Too, as the other Sam comes to call her. Both Sam and Charlie (and Sam Too) are Jewish, and they try to live by the religion's motto: Love your neighbor as yourself. The five brief stories in this book, accompanied by colorful illustrations, highlight the value of friendship and its ups and downs.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Charlie is Sam’s tomboy new neighbor (“I’m warning you: Never call me Charlene,” she tells him) who quickly becomes Sam’s best buddy. Sam Too is Charlie’s younger sister and is, as the parentheses in the title indicate, mostly peripheral to the story. In five short chapters, Kimmelman (The Three Bully Goats) explores how Sam and Charlie negotiate the rough patches of their friendship. Although the dynamic is familiar—think Marc Brown’s Arthur and Francine—what sets this story apart is that all the characters are Jewish, something that is matter-of-factly revealed in chapter two through Charlie and Sam’s mutual love of hamantaschen but never referred to directly. For many Jewish readers (and their parents), Kimmelman’s breezy, unshowy assumption of a shared faith and vocabulary will be refreshing; it also means she doesn’t stop her narrative to explain what a hamantaschen is, what Purim is, or, later, that “Cheery Bin” is a beloved Jewish camp song. In genial, full-color cartooned drawings, newcomer Tambellini underlines the messy and imperfect moments in a budding friendship through his characters’ untamed hairdos and rough-and-tumble outfits. Ages 6–8. (Mar.)
From the Publisher

". . .what sets this story apart is that all the characters are Jewish, something that is matter-of-factly revealed in chapter two through Charlie and Sam's mutual love of hamantaschen but never referred to directly." Publishers Weekly, January 14, 2013

". . .any child will understand the universal themes of this early chapter book. Each of the five stories emphasizes an element of friendship, including sharing, kindness, and saying sorry." Booklist, March 15, 2013

"The plot and the writing are kept simple but appealingly realistic as Sam and Charlie negotiate their newly formed friendship. . . Kids somewhere between Frog and Toad and beginning chapter books will find this bridges that gap nicely." The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, May 1, 2013

"Tambellini's illustrations complement the action beautifully. . ." Kirkus Reviews, February 1, 2013

Children's Literature - Carrie Hane Hung
While up in his treehouse, Sam watches the moving van deliver the new neighbor's belongings next door. Much to his surprise, he discovers that the new neighbor, Charlie (short for Charlene) is a girl and she has a little sister named, Sam (short for Samantha). They refer to the little sister as Sam Too. The new acquaintances have moments when their friendship is tested such as the time when Sam shares some hamentaschen, cookies that her mother made for Purim. This conflict begins with the last, prune-filled cookie that both Sam and Charlie want to eat because it is their favorite. Each chapter has a different situation between Sam and Charlie. Whether it is Sam's intentions to help Charlie when she is sick or his honest description of her new haircut, their friendship has its highs and lows. The illustrations provide support for some parts of the story. The transition of time is confusing in the first chapter when Charlie is called to lunch. Sam sidetracks her to play catch yet no one seems concerned that Charlie is not at lunch. Nevertheless, children may enjoy relating to the characters. Some children may enjoy the role (as the voice of reason) that young Sam Too has in the story. Reviewer: Carrie Hane Hung
School Library Journal
Gr 1–3—The opening-Leviticus 19:18, "Love your neighbor as yourself"-sets the theme as children quickly form a friendship. Sam meets two sisters, Charlie and Sam, referred to as Sam Too, when the girls move in next door, and each of the five stories focuses on an aspect of a universal experience. In "Sick Day," Sam tries to comfort Charlie, who is ill, but his thoughtful attempts fall flat, and he learns that giving flowers to someone who is allergic is not the best idea. The friends' interactions focus on common themes, such as competition and tact; their Jewish faith is lightly infused in their discussion of holidays, religious traditions, and food. Dialogue emphasizes the youngsters' relationship throughout. Color cartoon illustrations keep the fresh, angular characters the central focus. Simple musings occasionally provide a didactic slant. For example, on Yom Kippur, "They promised each other they'd try harder and be even better friends in the coming year." This early chapter book is an overly earnest exploration of childhood experiences.—Meg Smith, Cumberland County Public Library, Fayetteville, NC
Kirkus Reviews
Not even the worthy subject matter can overcome the herky-jerky writing in this rare glimpse into everyday Jewish life. Over four short chapters, a boy and a girl become good friends in spite of misunderstandings. When Sam overhears that the new kid next door is named Charlie, he's initially thrilled to find a playmate. To his surprise, he discovers that both Charlie and her little sister Sam (or "Sam Too") are girls. That makes little difference, though, since Charlie's a stellar buddy. The chapter on "Sharing" tests that new friendship when both Sam and Charlie crave the last prune hamentaschen. They're closer after Sam aims to cheer up Charlie on "Sick Day," but "The Bad Haircut" undoes that good with a callous comment. Finally on "I'm Sorry Day," aka Yom Kippur, the two apologize, and hilarity ensues. The text's level of difficulty is ideal for the emerging reader taking baby steps into chapter books, but even the great subject matter (the everyday lives of Jewish kids) can't make up for abrupt transitions between those chapters, lines like "Friendship is the best medicine," and odd lessons on losing on purpose to keep a friendship going. Tambellini's illustrations complement the action beautifully but cannot save the weak writing. Nevertheless, it fills a gap in the marketplace, hopefully paving the way for stronger fare. (Early reader. 6-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807572139
  • Publisher: Whitman, Albert & Company
  • Publication date: 3/1/2013
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 821,020
  • Age range: 6 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD330L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.60 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Leslie Kimmelman is the author of many picture books including The Three Bully Goats and Round the Turkey. She lives with her family in Ardsley, New York.

Stefano Tambellini is an artist, filmmaker, and illustrator. He lives in London, England.

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Read an Excerpt

Sam and Charlie (and Sam Too!)

By Leslie Kimmelman, Stefano Tambellini


Copyright © 2013 Leslie Kimmelman
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4804-2515-6



A new family moved in next door.

Sam watched from his tree house. Well, maybe watched wasn't the right word. But he listened carefully. Finally Sam heard what he had been waiting for.

"Charlie, don't forget your baseball mitt!"

"Charlie, stay where I can see you!"

"Charlie, time to come in for lunch!"

Sam climbed down from the tree house, hurried next door, and rang the bell. A girl about his age opened the door.

"Hi, I'm your neighbor," said Sam.

"Where's Charlie?"

"Here," said the girl.

"Here where?" said Sam.

"Me!" said the girl. "I'm Charlie."

"No way," said Sam. "Charlie is a boy's name." He looked down at Charlie's baseball mitt. "Isn't it?"

"I was named for my great-grandmother Charlene," explained Charlie. "But I'm warning you: Never call me Charlene."

"Who's this?" asked a smaller girl, coming up behind Charlie.

"I'm Sam," answered Sam.

"No way," said the girl. "That's a girl's name."

"Sam, meet my little sister," said Charlie. "She's Sam too, named after Great-Grandma Samantha."

Sam grinned. "Welcome to the neighborhood, Charlie and Sam Too," he said. "How about a game of catch?"


Excerpted from Sam and Charlie (and Sam Too!) by Leslie Kimmelman, Stefano Tambellini. Copyright © 2013 Leslie Kimmelman. Excerpted by permission of ALBERT WHITMAN & Company.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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