Sam and the Construction Site

Tjibbe Veldkamp, trans. from the Dutch by Ineke Lenting, illus. by Alice Hoogstad. Lemniscaat USA (IPS, dist.), $17.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-935954-49-1
Veldkamp (Tom the Tamer) and Hoogstad (Monster Book) offer an unabashed fantasy in which a boy named Sam causes all manner of mischief at a construction site. When the workers go on break, the boss asks Sam to “keep an eye” on the site. “And if anyone does enter the site, call the police!” he adds. The childlike tone of the storytelling plays right into the fantasy: after “two big boys” show up and dare Sam to enter the site, he readily agrees. “I’ll go in,” he says, “but then you must call the police!” So begins a wild series of events as Sam flattens a car with a steamroller, pours out a heap of wet cement, and hoists the arriving police car into midair with a crane. Readers paying attention the backgrounds of Hoogstad’s loopy, pastel-colored scenes may get a hint of why Sam is embarking on his path of destruction, and all is revealed in the final pages. Not only does Sam get to drive some big trucks around, he gets to be the hero, too. What more could a kid want? Ages 3–6. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 01/25/2016
Release date: 04/01/2016
Genre: Children's
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