Thursday, March 12, 2015
Number One Sam by Greg Pizzoli
Disney Hyperion Books
Rating: 4 stars
I have a few places that really make me extra-happy. One of those is a library--or bookstore, or book fair, or anywhere with lots of books. Another happy place for me is Crossfit. I can let go of my kind and polite side and be uber-competitive with guys and gals who are used to me trash-talking my way into a workout, then walking the walk and finishing first.
So a picture book about a competitive hound who is only content with the top spot...well, that's a book found at the crossroads between my two happy places!
Like me, Sam likes to be--and actually is--number one at lots of things. He's the best at turns, speed, and grabbing the top of the podium. And he loves it. Being number one is who he is.
Until he's not. Until he isn't. Until he loses. To his best friend, Maggie.
We watch as Sam slides into existential despair (maybe I'm exaggerating a bit)... Who IS Sam if he's not THE BEST?! When it is time to roll up to the starting line a few days later, Sam tries to be determined and confident, but really he's nervous and afraid to lose.
Within a few moments of starting, Sam is ahead! He's winning! He's thrilled.
But then...a gaggle of chicks crossing the road catches his eye. He could steer around and miss them, but the other cars behind him wouldn't see them in time. He hesitates for a moment, but stops and puts them in his race car to protect them. Sam's shoulders droop as his friends zoom past him.
As he putt-putts towards the finish line with the grateful chicks, he hears cheering. As he gets closer, he realizes his friends are cheering for him--because he was so kind and selfless and gave up the winning spot for these chicks.
Hooray for Sam!
(But: there better not be a gaggle of chicks at my workout. I don't know if I'm as benevolent as Sam.)
Back to picture books: I love author/illustrator Greg Pizzoli's advice to those interested in illustration: "Avoid the internet and draw!" Do check out his other book The Watermelon Seed!