- Sam the Man & the Rutabaga Plan by Frances O’Roark Dowell
Trade ed. ISBN 978-1-4814-4069-1 $15.99
E-book ed. ISBN 978-1-4814-4071-4 $10.99
Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 2-3
Luck is against Sam in his new school assignment to study a particular vegetable for [End Page 264] two weeks; not only does he dislike vegetables, he gets stuck with the rutabaga, which seems to be the least interesting vegetable ever. His feelings change when his sister draws a smiling face on Rudy the Rutabaga, and soon the two are fast friends—but Sam must face sooner than later the inevitable fate of his aging vegetable. As in Sam’s first outing (Sam the Man & the Chicken Plan, BCCB 9/16), Sam is an endearing and credible protagonist, and there’s kid-appropriate humor scattered throughout (“This could be supergross,” says Sam’s friend; “I hope so,” answers Sam). The book also provides an entertaining dive into science as Sam explores the wonderful world of compost (he wants some really good dirt for Rudy the root vegetable) and brings his usual enterprising nature to the topic. The friendship between Sam and Rudy will strike a chord with youngsters who warmed to Miller’s Sophie’s Squash (BCCB 10/13), and kids with green leanings will appreciate the ecological love. Sturdy, comfortable pencil drawings suit Sam’s purposeful nature.