In her eighth book about the Krupnik family, Lowry gains a fresh perspective by turning to its precocious youngest member and reporting on his first four years, from his point of view. Anastasia's brother Sam is already a unique individual when he is disgusted at having to wear a hat home from the hospital after he is born. His gleeful infant efforts to control grown-ups are followed by his toddler attempts to understand a puzzling world: what are those "terrible twos" his parents say he's in the midst of, and will they hurt him? Finally, he makes a reluctant (but triumphant) entry into nursery school and--with the aid of elderly friend Gertrustein--celebrates the sheer joy of existence. Sam's adventures, some of which also occur in the books about Anastasia, are warm and life-affirming; they are related with humorous affection, without a trace of condescension. The earliest sections are especially original and appealing (although Sam masters skills like rolling over and walking with astonishing rapidity). He emerges as a fascinating person; here's hoping that his further experiences (like those of that other younger sibling, Ramona) will also be shared. Suitable for reading 'aloud to capable preschoolers.