Reviews provided by Syndetics
Publishers Weekly Review
A precocious tot with a carrot-orange cowlick turns into a reading superstar in this whimsical tale with a hammer-it-home message about reading. Young audiences should enjoy the silliness factor that increases with each turn of the page. After toddlerhood, Sam reads books about good nutrition, grand ambition,/ playing fair,/ and bike repair and goes on to win an adult cycling race. He later vanquishes the baby giant Grundaloon (a reference to Beowulf's Grendel?) by calming him down with a few stories and a bite to eat. And while the giant ate his snack up,/ Sam discreetly called for backup. Conventionally rhymed couplets--used in Sierra and Brown's previous collaboration, Wild AboutBooks--return here; the rich vocabulary gives the story a jaunty tempo, as do the appealing full-color gouache cartoon illustrations, filled with bouncy polka-dot motifs. Brown's fans will recognize his signature round, wide-eyed faces in this story's human cast. Numerous childhood favorites make appearances, e.g., Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Pat the Bunny, even an Arthur book. Not leaving the moral up to supposition, Sierra spells it out more than once: Readers win and/ winners read and Yes, readers can/ go anyplace! Ages 4-8. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved All rights reserved.
School Library Journal Review
K-Gr 2-In quick, quirky rhymed couplets, Sierra relates the story of Sam, who starts reading as soon as his eyes open and never, ever stops-even when he plays basketball. There's a book (or three) out there for all of his various interests, and those he chooses help him with everything from winning bike races to saving the town from a marauding baby giant. To befriend the latter, he pulls out an assortment of classics (including The Cat in the Hat and an Arthur title), some cake, and a cup of tea, all of which work like magic. "And while the giant ate his snack up,/Sam discreetly called for backup." Help arrives in the form of a big brown UPS cargo jet. As an adult, Sam makes the cover of Time when he's awarded a Pulitzer. Sierra's wry acknowledgment of recognizable brands and their value works out okay for grownups-sure, it's obvious product placement and cross promotion. For kids, the familiar bindings depicted in miniature promise a happy "Hey, I know that book!" Brown's gouache illustrations are cheery, and each page pours into the next through the use of subtly repeated background motifs. Polka dots on wallpaper in Sam's nursery evolve into dapples and spots across a wide swath of lawn, reappear as large potato-print circles in a doctor's office, and then shrink into a dizzying spray of blue and purple spots in Sam's dazzled imagination. This is an easy, obvious choice for events with literacy and early learning as their themes.-Catherine Threadgill, formerly at Charleston County Public Library, SC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
The collaborators who produced the hugely popular Wild about Books (2004) have created another book that is a hooray for reading. Rhyming text introduces youngsters to a boy named Sam, who was born to read and read he does. When he becomes interested in winning a bicycle race, he reads everything he can on the topic, including books on motivation, concentration, muscle action, getting traction, and against the odds, he wins. When a baby giant terrorizes the town, Sam, with a basket of books and snacks, charms the critter and saves the day. This definitely lacks the allure and cleverness of Wild. It seems like two stories lumped into one, and it isn't really clear how Sam wins the bicycle race (the statement Readers win and winners read isn't enough). However, Brown's bright, colorful illustrations and the message that reading can be the ticket to what someone wants to accomplish give the book a fair amount of appeal.--Enos, Randall Copyright 2008 Booklist
Kirkus Book Review
In the department of preaching to the choir, from the duo who first celebrated reading in the Seussian Wild About Books (2004). From his first moments, Sam knows he is born to read. This story traces his love of books from his mother's readalouds to his own constant reading on a multitude of subjects and his sometimes surprising and practical use of reading in the outside world. Once he is fluent, Sam diagnoses himself and avoids an operation, wins a cycling race (although he stops for a poem or two) because "Readers win and / winners read," and conquers a hungry and familiar giant, all through his use of books. Literary references (Pat the Bunny, "Jack and the Beanstalk" and the Arthur series) abound in both Brown's illustrations and text, adding to the fun. While the rhymes are sometimes a bit rough and the story a bit over the top, this will appeal to both children and parents as they embark together on the path to reading. (Picture book. 3-6) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.