ATTABOY, SAM! by Lois Lowry


by & illustrated by
Age Range: 7 - 12
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Anastasia's little brother, whose infant point of view was explored in All About Sam (1988), is now a preschooler whose wit and persistence mark him as precocious, but who is still winningly typical in such details as the messy results of mixing mustard and ketchup on his hotdog. Mom's birthday is coming up; she's outspokenly devastated by being 38 and wants only homemade presents. No problem: hearing that her favorite perfume is no longer available, Sam manufactures a substitute in a not-quite- empty grape-juice bottle from the recycling bin. Ever-alert to what Mom says smells good, he keeps Ziplock bags at the ready and manages to add to his brew a bit of sea water, one of Dad's old pipes, chicken soup, tissues that have been used for cleaning up a baby (both ends), and some yeast--his concern over the increasingly noxious odor competing with his truly childlike hope that somehow it will all come right. It doesn't--but the concoction's explosion is only the most spectacular of three resounding failures: Dad has clumsily touched up a portrait photo, and Anastasia has written a notably tactless poem (Sam's offhand help with this proves that he's inherited a lot more of poet Dad's talent than his sister; unfortunately, she tinkers with her effort after Sam's last suggestions). Still, in the end, Sam saves the day, in a tidy but thoroughly satisfying conclusion. Warm, lively, true to children's real inner lives, and laugh-aloud funny all the way. Illustrations not seen. (Fiction. 7-12)

Pub Date: April 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-395-61588-7
Page count: 128pp
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1992


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