Reading/Interest Level: Preschool, Primary, Intermediate, Young Adult
Author: Henry Cole
Publisher: Peachtree Publishers
Jimmy has built a flight-ready, small aircraft, and he’s itching for a test pilot. So, he steals Hanks’ pet mouse, Sammy Shine. But the launch goes awry when Jimmy accidentally destroys the plane’s remote. Sammy takes over the controls, but he eventually crashes inside the wild Great Woods. Once there, Sammy meets a mouse clan and their friendly leader, Osmund. Osmund believes Sammy is magical because of his airplane, but warns that Mustela, the evil weasel, will want it to take over the woods. When Sammy’s aircraft disappears and Mustela isn’t to blame, Sammy searches for Goggles, an old and wise raccoon, for advice. Phoebe, Osmund’s granddaughter, joins Sammy’s journey, along with several other forest creatures. After escaping from Mustela and his goons, Sammy learns that Goggles took the airplane to repair it and keep out of Mustela’s paws. With the plane ready for takeoff, Sammy, Phoebe, and their traveling companions escape Mustela and his gang to fly safely back to Hank and Jimmy.
Cole’s wildly imaginative novel is a perfect mix of such classic stories as The Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, The Great Christmas Kidnapping Caper, and The Mouse and the Motorcycle. Sammy loves his reclusive, relaxing life as Hank’s pet. But when Jimmy launches Sammy in the plane, Jimmy also initiates Sammy’s confidence, intelligence, and courage while facing the unknown world. From that point on, Sammy tries to jump-start the confidence of others by acknowledging their strengths and accepting them for who they are. Supporting his lighthearted read, Cole weaves in several graphite illustrations throughout the book to bring personality to his characters and life to his setting. Each chapter beginning includes a unique drawing that foreshadows Sammy’s adventures. With Cole’s well-written story and his fun illustrations, The Somewhat True Adventures of Sammy Shine has potential to become another classic in children’s literature.