Sam and Jump

Jennifer K. Mann. Candlewick, $15.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7636-7947-7
Sam and his stuffed bunny, Jump, “do everything together. Because they are best friends.” But when Sam goes to the beach, he meets a boy named Thomas, and they have so much fun that Sam forgets all about Jump when he leaves. Luckily, Thomas doesn’t. With its simple sentences (set in a typeface that has an understated poignancy), roundheaded characters, and softly colored watercolor-and-ink renderings, Mann’s (I Will Never Get a Star on Mrs. Benson’s Blackboard) story raises some powerful and provocative questions about loyalty, responsibility, and friendship. Was Sam being thoughtless or even disloyal when he put Jump aside to play with Thomas? On the other hand, Jump is a toy—perhaps even a “baby toy”—and Thomas is a real peer who seems like he’d make a very good friend (and proves it when he rescues the forgotten Jump). Doesn’t Thomas have a greater claim on Sam’s attention? Mann splits the difference in the end, but both adults and kids should find this ostensibly unassuming story offers significant food for thought. Ages 3–7. Agent: Holly McGhee, Pippin Properties. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/07/2016
Release date: 05/10/2016
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