Number One Sam

by Greg Pizzoli (Author) Greg Pizzoli (Illustrator)

Number One Sam
Reading Level: K − 1st Grade

An acclaimed, winning tale about losing -- from champion humorist and three-time Geisel-recipient Greg Pizzoli

They're off! Sam is the best race-car driver in history -- he is number one at every race! But when his best friend, Maggie, shows that she has racing talent of her own, Sam doesn't know how to handle coming in second place. Will he learn what it truly means to be a winner? With his signature light touch, Greg Pizzoli's upbeat story about being a good sport is perfect for read-aloud.

* "Another winner from Pizzoli." ---Publisher's Weekly, starred review

* "The simple yet exciting text drives the story forward and will make it a popular choice at storytimes." ---School Library Journal, starred review

Don't miss these other favorites from Greg Pizzoli:

  • The Watermelon Seed
  • Good Night Owl
  • The Book Hog
  • The Twelve Days of Christmas
  • Templeton Gets His Wish
  • This Story is for You

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review

Sam the dog is a champion race-car driver, and he has the trophy wall to prove it. But racing isn't just a sport for Sam--it's his whole identity, and when he loses to his best friend Maggie the elephant, he's truly shaken up. "The night before the next race, Sam didn't sleep one wink," writes Geisel Award-winner Pizzoli (The Watermelon Seed). Will Sam do anything to win back his title? What if it means mowing down five oblivious chicks who decide to cross the track at the very moment the race's outcome hangs in the balance? One thing's certain: this is another winner from Pizzoli, who employs the same naif drawing style and four-color spot printing technique that gave his debut a silly sweetness and distinctly artisanal feel. Working with a more straightforward narrative this time, Pizzoli adeptly builds tension and sympathy for Sam, so that even when the story wraps up with a familiar lesson--a little sportsmanship and selflessness go a long way--it feels like everybody really does win. Ages 3-5. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (May)

Copyright 2014 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

Starred Review

PreS-Gr 1—Sam is used to winning everything, including car racing, his sport of choice. His wall of trophies and trinkets show off his talent for success until the day the unthinkable happens: the pup loses the big race because he stops for a group of oblivious chickens in the middle of the track. Then his cheering friends and the chickens let him know that he is still number one with them. Children will be able to relate to Sam's disappointment when he loses while also understanding the concept that winning isn't always everything. Pizzoli's playful, cartoon illustrations perfectly showcase the message in a fun way yet never come off as didactic. Pizzoli's use of four-color art provides an airy, uncluttered vision for his story that will definitely attract children. The simple yet exciting text drives the story forward and will make it a popular choice at storytimes.—Christopher Lassen, Brooklyn Public Library

Copyright 2014 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

* "A polished work, from the words to the finish on the race cars."—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
Greg Pizzoli
Greg Pizzoli is the creator of the Baloney & Friends series as well as a three-time Theodor Seuss Geisel Award recipient for The Watermelon Seed (Medal winner), The Book Hog (Honor book), and Good Night Owl (Honor book). He is also the author-illustrator of This Story Is for You, The 12 Days of Christmas, Templeton Gets His Wish, and Number One Sam. His nonfiction for children includes the New York Times Best Illustrated Book The Impossible True Story of Tricky Vic: The Man Who Sold the Eiffel Tower, and he has also illustrated picture books written by authors such as Mac Barnett, Kelly DiPucchio, Jennifer Adams, and Margaret Wise Brown. He lives in Philadelphia.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
May 20, 2014
Keystone to Reading Book Award
Nominee 2016 - 2016
Capitol Choices: Noteworthy Books for Children and Teens
Recommended 2015 - 2015

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