cover image Something Special

Something Special

David M. McPhail. Joy Street Books, $12.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-316-56324-6

Sam the raccoon is the only member of his family who cannot do something special. One sister plays the piano exquisitely, another sister is a baseball star. When Sam tries to emulate them, he is all thumbs, and he courts disaster when he tries to be a computer whiz like his brother. His father is a super chef, his mother carves lovely wooden birds and Grandma knits beautiful woollies. Only when his mother asks Sam's advice about painting the birds does Sam finally discover his own talent; soon he is immersed in creating portraits of the whole family. This story is perfect for children still unaware of their own abilities. Plucky Sam admirably keeps trying even though he does not always succeed, an appealing reminder that it sometimes takes time to find a niche. McPhail's colorful illustrations bring to life the multi-talented raccoon family. He captures the ghastly results of Sam's playing the piano and the horrid effects of his cooking attempts. Ages 3-5. (Oct.)