Cover image for Something special
Something special
McPhail, David, 1940-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Boston : Little, Brown and Company, [1988]

Physical Description:
32 unnumbered pages : color illustrations ; 24 cm
Surrounded by parents and siblings with remarkable talents, Sam yearns to be good at something himself, and finds his own special niche when he discovers the pleasures of painting.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 2.2 0.5 152499.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



Surrounded by parents and siblings with remarkable talents, Sam yearns to be good at something himself, and finds his own special niche when he discovers the pleasures of painting.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 4-6. Sam believes he's the only one in his family who can't do something ``special.'' One sister plays piano, another is a talented baseball player, and Sam's brother, Eugene, is a computer whiz. Not only that, his father is a wonderful cook, and his mother carves lovely, lifelike wooden birds. Even his dog can do a special trick. When Sam approaches his mother for comfort, their ensuing conversation leads Sam to try his hand at painting-- at which he's a rousing success. Perhaps Sam's problem is resolved a little too expeditiously, but the message that everyone is good at something is a comforting one for children, who may see much of Sam in themselves. Meanwhile, McPhail's pen-and-wash drawings of Sam are beguiling; they display a gentle but well-defined sense of humor that is sure to coax a smile. DMW.

Publisher's Weekly Review

Sam the raccoon is the only member of his family who cannot do something special. One sister plays the piano exquisitely, another sister is a baseball star. When Sam tries to emulate them, he is all thumbs, and he courts disaster when he tries to be a computer whiz like his brother. His father is a super chef, his mother carves lovely wooden birds and Grandma knits beautiful woollies. Only when his mother asks Sam's advice about painting the birds does Sam finally discover his own talent; soon he is immersed in creating portraits of the whole family. This story is perfect for children still unaware of their own abilities. Plucky Sam admirably keeps trying even though he does not always succeed, an appealing reminder that it sometimes takes time to find a niche. McPhail's colorful illustrations bring to life the multi-talented raccoon family. He captures the ghastly results of Sam's playing the piano and the horrid effects of his cooking attempts. Ages 3-5. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 1 Everyone in Sam's raccoon family has a special talentone sister plays the piano, another plays first base, his brother is a computer whiz, his father is a wonderful cook, his mother carves wooden birds, his grandmother is a knitter, and even his dog can balance a bone on his nose. Sam fails at everything. At last he discovers his own special talentpainting, which wins him self-respect and the admiration of others. Expressive full-color ink-and-wash illustrations are uncluttered yet filled with humorous detail and serve as the perfect extension to the simple text. A reassuring story told with humor and a light touch, sure to be a comfort to young siblings seeking the special string to their bow. Starr LaTronica, North Berkeley Library, Calif. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.