Some families go on staycations, but Sam takes Mom, Dad, and little sister Marla to all the places they want to visit most.
How does Sam accomplish it? The determined narrator pursues “a little research” (including reading the classic This Is Paris by M. Šašek), “rummage[s] through the closet, and gather[s] some supplies.” Sam turns the kitchen into a French bakery before taking the family on a walk to the Champs Élysées (in reality, the street that leads to the city park, entered via an arch). In the park, Sam “pass[es] out field books and binoculars.” The playground elephant slide and the zebra spring riders become real animals. After Mom has her trip to Paris and Dad enjoys the Serengeti, it’s Marla’s turn. She wants to see penguins. Sam takes them to the ice rink and names it “Antarctica!” The family marvels at an orca, icebergs, and a line of penguins, revealed to be a black-and-white Zamboni machine, painted icebergs, and a little squadron of penguin-capped skaters. By now, the once-indefatigable guide is exhausted and just wants to go home and play a board game (readers will recall Sam sitting with it at the beginning). The pleasantly humorous illustrations reveal some of the secrets that help Sam’s family (all present white) have a great time.
Gigot demonstrates that resourcefulness and love go a long way even if time and money are short. (Picture book. 5-7)