Sam may be small for his age, but he enjoys a Saturday golf game as much as any grown-up. When he and his dad spend a day on the golf course, Sam encounters a problem that requires him to rely on his own judgment for perhaps the first time in his life. Sportsmanship and honor play a large role, as Sam confronts the possibility of taking credit for something he did not earn. The way he chooses to proceed, and how his father responds, provides young readers with a familiar but powerful lesson. Sam’s simple, sudden reward for choosing wisely may seem contrived to adult readers, but kids will love it. Although the story is ostensibly about a golf game, it speaks on a deeper level about the precious nature of the parent-child relationship and the basic ethical principles of honesty and integrity. The bonding experience of a young child and a parent playing a sport together will also resonate with many readers; Sam gets a feeling of confidence when he receives the support of his father, which provides another valuable lesson. The book’s greatest strength is its fantastic illustrations, which are displayed in a classic Sunday-comic style reminiscent of Bil Keane’s The Family Circus. The author’s passion for golf shines from the pages, but the book doesn’t require readers to have knowledge of the game. The rhyming verses are never awkward; the lines flow easily with a gentle meter, well-suited for reading aloud. A couplet just before the end, however, features the first-person voice of an unseen narrator, which is a puzzling choice: “Sam never will forget that day; neither will I, / as I couldn’t help looking up into the sky.”
A simple, timeless story of family values.