Sam’s First Word

Little, Brown. Feb. 2021. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780316452441.
Toddler-PreS–Sam is a baby who is learning to do all kinds of things, to the great delight of all the grown-ups in her life. Sam’s mother, father, grandma, and neighbor all plot to get her to say their names as her first word. As the grown-ups muse over ways to get the baby to say their names, Sam gets more and more frustrated, until she finally figures out a way to get what she wants. Her actual first word, ignored by all the adults in funny scenes, is, “poop.” Cartoony digital illustrations depict Sam’s antics alongside the ever-faithful Farnsworth, the family dog, with speech bubbles for the characters that match their outfits. Sam joyfully gets what she wants, stripping off her clothes and diaper to get the attention of the adults in her life. Children will delight in the scatological humor and fast-paced plot, while grown-ups will appreciate the scenes-from-real-life quest. In Hatam’s cheerful watercolor-like scenes, Sam and her family present as white, while neighbor Mr. Theotopoulos has dark skin.
VERDICT An easy first purchase, where lowbrow humor meets screwball comedy, this sweet and silly read-aloud is perfect for story times.

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