‘Sam the Man and the Chicken Plan’ named Gryphon Award Honor book

Gryphon Award Honor Book
2017 Gryphon Award Honor Book

Sam the Man & the Chicken Plan, written by Frances O’Roark Dowell and illustrated by Amy June, and Wet Cement: A Mix of Concrete Poems, by Bob Raczka, have been named Honor Books by the 2017 Gryphon Award for Children’s Literature committee. The announcement was made Tuesday as the committee awarded the prestigious 2017 Gryphon Award for Children’s Literature to Weekends with Max and His Dad, written by Linda Urban and illustrated by Katie Kath.

The Gryphon Award was established in 2004 as a way to focus attention on transitional reading. “These are some of the most important books children will ever read,” Stevenson said. “We love having the opportunity, as a committee, to draw attention to the many wonderful books available to encourage early readers to move beyond the practical challenge of decoding to the skill of reading for content and for pleasure.”

The award committee consists of members drawn from the youth services faculty of the iSchool, the editorial staff of The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, public and school librarians, and the library and education community at large.

The award is sponsored by the CCB and funded by the CCB’s Gryphon Fund. Income from the fund supports the annual Gryphon Lecture as well as the Gryphon Award for children’s literature.


About ‘Sam the Man and the Chicken Plan’

Sam the Man wants to earn some money and he’s got a cluck-worthy plan in this endearing chapter book that’s the first in a new series from Frances O’Roark Dowell.

Sam the Man needs a job. His sister gets twenty bucks a pop for mowing people’s lawns. But seven-year-olds aren’t allowed to mow lawns, so Sam decides to ask his next door neighbor if she needs help doing other chores. It turns out she’ll pay him a whole dollar each time he can convince her dad, Mr. Stockfish, to join him for a daily walk. But it turns out that getting Mr. Stockfish to leave the living room isn’t easy. AND a dollar a pop isn’t going to cut it.

So when Mrs. Kerner, another neighbor, asks if Sam would like to watch her chickens, Sam jumps on the task. Watching chickens is more fun than he expects, and comes with an added bonus: it turns out that visiting the chickens is the one thing that can coax Mr. Stockfish out of the house. But what does a seven-year-old do with all the money he’s earning? It’s not enough for a bike, and too much for candy. But wait! It’s just enough for a chicken of his own—the kind that lays BLUE eggs! Soon he has a whole waiting list of kids who want to buy a blue egg. And what does Sam plan on doing with his new fortune? Buy Mr. Stockfish his own chicken, of course!


What reviewers are saying about ‘Sam the Man and the Chicken Plan’

“The story has accessibility, charm, and gentle wit, and the subtle strokes of human dynamics are masterful…” (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books)

“Dowell’s story shines in Sam’s believable and often-funny interactions with his family, community, and friends.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Dowell creates in Sam a completely believable 7-year-old whose desires “to be an expert on something” and to emulate his family members combine organically to drive this story of intergenerational (and interspecies) friendship.” (Kirkus)

“Sam is an inventive character who lives in a warm family in a diverse neighborhood. Small realistic incidents are amusing, relatable, and will ready early readers ready for more in this new series.” (The News & Observer)

“The short sentences and amusing situations make this a perfect read-aloud or first read-alone for young readers.” (The Horn Book)