You Can Do it, Sam
Illustrated by Anita Jeram
Ages 3 to 6
Candlewick, 2003, 0-7636-1934-5
On a cold and snowy morning, very early, Sam and his mother are baking cakes. Sam is a small and young bear, who can hardly wait for the cakes to be ready. When the cakes are done, Sam and his mother put the cakes in twelve red bags and out they go into the cold morning, into Mrs. Bear's truck. Then Sam has the biggest job of all. Sam is to take each cake, in its red bag, to each house on Plum street "uphill and down, up and down" all by himself. His mother tells him that "You can do it Sam" and so he does.
Against the white expanse of snow we watch the little bear in his red boots, red jacket and carrying the small red bag, march his way towards a house. Back in the bright green truck, a hug and bear kiss from his mother and Sam is feeling as proud as can be because he "did it" all by himself.
With clear acrylic colors the illustrator has created a delightful snowy world where the two bears are the only ones who are awake, the bright colors of their clothes and the green truck contrasting with the muted colors of the outdoors. We are given a sense of the sleepiness that the two bears venture out into, a gentleness that is also expressed in the singsong text. This is quiet time when the world is hushed. Sam and his mother make their surprise deliveries before everyone is awake and then return to their own warm home for a little comfort of their own. Within this charming atmosphere of coziness is Sam's little story of achievement, of his well-earned feeling of pride. A delightful book to read in the wintertime.
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