cover image Sam's Surprise

Sam's Surprise

David Pelham. Dutton Books, $11.99 (22pp) ISBN 978-0-525-44947-8

Youngsters who prefer spice to sugar will eat up the followup to Sam's Sandwich . In that first outing, Sam slipped a few noxious treats into a sandwich for his sister Samantha; here Samantha avers that ``Revenge is sweet,'' and backs her claim by regaling birthday-boy Sam with a box of homemade chocolates, each containing a none-too-toothsome surprise. Pelham, of course, lets the reader share in the partygoers' festivities. His book is packaged like the retaliatory candy box, with gatefolds to suggest tissue-paper overlays, and each page of text offers a rhyming clue to the next ``candy'' filling (``By climbing up upon the bar / Sis had reached the relish jar ./ So Leroy's candy was a funny one-- / A chocolate-coated, pickled . . . stet ellipses ''). Lift-the-flap paper engineering on the facing spread supplies a visual answer (under the fancy chocolate swirls, a little onion). Naturally, each candy disappears from the spread as soon as it's been consumed, and the bottom of the box is filled with party debris--real bits of confetti, pictures of cake candles and broken balloons. Bon appetit. Ages 4-9. (Oct.)