Number One Sam

Greg Pizzoli. Disney-Hyperion, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4231-7111-9
Sam the dog is a champion race-car driver, and he has the trophy wall to prove it. But racing isn’t just a sport for Sam—it’s his whole identity, and when he loses to his best friend Maggie the elephant, he’s truly shaken up. “The night before the next race, Sam didn’t sleep one wink,” writes Geisel Award–winner Pizzoli (The Watermelon Seed). Will Sam do anything to win back his title? What if it means mowing down five oblivious chicks who decide to cross the track at the very moment the race’s outcome hangs in the balance? One thing’s certain: this is another winner from Pizzoli, who employs the same naïf drawing style and four-color spot printing technique that gave his debut a silly sweetness and distinctly artisanal feel. Working with a more straightforward narrative this time, Pizzoli adeptly builds tension and sympathy for Sam, so that even when the story wraps up with a familiar lesson—a little sportsmanship and selflessness go a long way—it feels like everybody really does win. Ages 3–5. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/03/2014
Release date: 05/13/2014
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