Sam and the Big Kids

Overview

Poor Sam! He wants to play with the big kids. "You are too small," they tell him. "Go home." They hide from Sam, then they won't let him play in their fort. But when the big kids need help, who saves the day? Sam, of course!

New readers will relate to being excluded by older kids, and they'll cheer for Sam when he shows that he can help, even though he's not big. Watercolor illustrations with pen-and-ink ...

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Overview

Poor Sam! He wants to play with the big kids. "You are too small," they tell him. "Go home." They hide from Sam, then they won't let him play in their fort. But when the big kids need help, who saves the day? Sam, of course!

New readers will relate to being excluded by older kids, and they'll cheer for Sam when he shows that he can help, even though he's not big. Watercolor illustrations with pen-and-ink highlight the subtle emotions in this charming book.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
What child hasn’t felt the sting of being told to “get lost” by an older kid? In this I Like To Read book, that’s the cross borne by bear cub Sam. “You are too small.... Go home,” he hears over and over again as he follows his big sister and her friend through the forest. When the older bears get into some mild trouble, however—they’re stranded on an island when their rowboat floats away—they turn to unwanted tagalong Sam: “The big kids called, ‘Sammy! Sammy! Go get Mom!’ ” Readers will appreciate the impressive geographic features of McCully’s (The Helpful Puppy) ink-and-watercolor renderings, and her approach to emotions, while understated, never fails to convey the older kids’ casual cruelty and the impressiveness of Sam’s leap into action. What’s more, the author’s willingness to avoid a hugging-learning moment in the wrap-up feels downright brave: Mom rows everyone home, the two older kids remain engaged with one another, and Sam, sitting behind his mother, is focused on feeding a fish. In short, life goes on. Ages 4–8. (Apr.)
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—Barner's amusing artwork done in paper collage, gouache, pastel, and pencil radiates off the pages as a playful pup shares the wonders of his garden and all of the living things that reside in it. The clear vocabulary and engaging drawings provide the earliest readers with a delightful story. Barner's use of perspective is precise, and earthy tones warm each page. Sam will strike home with little brothers and sisters everywhere who always get left out when the "big kids" are playing. Sam's big sister and her friend are having a tea party, and he wants to play, too. His sister tells him to go away, but Sam keeps trying to join in the fun. To escape him, the girls hide in a cave, build a fort, and then finally row a boat to an island. When it drifts away, it is Sam who notices that they are stranded and gets help. Full spreads of expressive bears fill up the space nicely as the lucid text balances well with warm hues in the pen-and-ink drawings. Simple sentences, repetition, and a large font assure success for children just learning to read. This leveled series supports core standards, helping beginning readers understand characters, setting, and plot while building reading fluency. Superb choices for the very earliest readers.—Melissa Smith, Royal Oak Public Library, MI
Kirkus Reviews
Can there be a positive side to a pesky little brother who won't leave his big sister and her friend to their play? There is in the latest I Like to Read series entry. Poor Sam is always trying to join in the fun his sister and her friend are having without him. But each time the little bear (so very politely) asks to play, they rather rudely tell him, "You are too small….Go home." He can't join in their picnic and is rebuffed from hiding in the cave, and when he wants to join in on making a fort, the friend has him count to 100, cruelly making him believe he is a part of a game. When sister and friend find a boat, they row to an island (wearing life jackets) and finally get the peace and privacy they so wanted…but what will they do when the boat floats away? While Sam becomes their hero, the book ends on this note, never satisfyingly tying up the question of whether Sam will be a welcome playmate in the future. The illustrations, done in pen, ink and watercolor, reflect the green and gray countryside nicely, though the facial expressions of the characters can be a mixed bag--the friend especially shows some mean emotions on her face, though the sister does seem to feel some remorse. While this may open the door for discussion, the lack of a real conclusion may leave readers unsatisfied. (Easy reader. 4-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780823430604
  • Publisher: Holiday House, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/14/2014
  • Series: I Like to Read
  • Pages: 26
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.80 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.10 (d)

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