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Sam and the Construction Site


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"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?" -Publishers Weekly
"Fascinated by its big machines, Sam spends his days peering into a construction site. The young lad wonders whether he'll ever get his hands on the steamroller and the cement truck, wondering longingly, "What if I could drive those machines?" Each time the construction workers eat lunch, the boss tasks Sam with two big responsibilities: he must stay at the gate and prevent anyone from entering the site and call the police if anyone does. During lunchtime one day, two older kids tease Sam and convince him to enter the construction site just as a suspicious car with shadowy occupants passes nearby. "All right," says Sam. "I'll go in, but then you must call the police." Through a strong union of words and pictures, Veldkamp and Hoogstad construct an understated, slyly subtle narrative full of joy and charm. Once Sam enters the construction site, he sets off a string of seemingly bewildering actions. He flattens the mysterious car, pours concrete in front of the local bank, and uses the crane to lift up the police car on its way. The illustrations--figures and machinery constructed with smooth, rounded lines and brush strokes of color--contrast nicely against white backdrops. Here the book's tall portrait orientation provides ample space for Sam's antics, which put an end to a bank robbery. Sam, it turns out, is a hero... Readers will surely enjoy a few visits to this construction site." - Kirkus Reviews
"This oversize Dutch import will undoubtedly demand to be reread. It has enough twists and turns to keep the interest of not just vehicle lovers but anyone who likes solving a good mystery. Sam is the kind of kid who can't help standing and watching at a construction site. He dreams, of course, of driving the machines himself. One day, the foreman asks him to keep an eye on things from the fence while the workers eat lunch -- and to call the police if anyone enters the site. But when two bullies dare Sam to enter, he surprises us by agreeing to go in -- if they agree to call the police. They do, and he does, proceeding to wreak havoc by driving the steamroller and the cement truck around. Even the bullies are shocked, until the police arrive and it turns out Sam was chasing down two robbers. Those readers who have paid close attention to Hoogstad's delightful, detailed watercolor illustrations will have noticed the robbers' story unfolding next to Sam's all along." -New York Times Book Review

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