In her latest children's book, popular radio talk-show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger turns her attention to the dreaded child-in-a-toy-store phenomenon. The temptations for young Sammy (protagonist of Dr. Laura's earlier bestselling title, Why Do You Love Me?
) prove to be too much when he accompanies his mother to the toy store to select a gift for his two-year-old cousin. "But I waaannt it!" Sammy whines, clinging to an armful of stuffed animals. "Having them all will make me so verrry happy." In a strategic (and wallet-emptying) maneuver, Sammy's mother buys him everything he wants, trusting that, once home with the overwhelmingly excessive menagerie, he will somehow learn a lesson. And in this story, the lesson he learns is that things
do not have the power to make people happy. As his mother says, "It's how special
something or someone is to you that makes you happy." This picture book is no more pleasant to read than it is to see a child whining in a store, but if its lesson sinks in, parents everywhere will breathe a sigh of relief. (Ages 3 to 7) --Emilie Coulter
From Publishers Weekly
Schlessinger (Why Do You Love Me?) returns with an overwrought smarmfest of a picture book, this time zeroing in on consumerism and greed. While buying a birthday present for his cousin at a toy store, Sammy has an attack of the "gimmes." His mother's unlikely strategy is to give in to his demands and buy all the stuffed toys to "teach him a lesson." Then, in the middle of the night, when he can't sleep because "there are just too many stuffed animals in my room," the two discuss why the new purchases were so disappointing. Sammy consequently decides to give all his new toys away to less fortunate children. An overearnest tone and dialogue manufactured to drive home Dr. Laura's message insults the intelligence of readers and their parents ("Let's find those children and give them each one of these toy animals so they can feel loved and protected," suggests Sammy, to which his mother replies, "Yes, Sammy, let's do that tomorrow at the children's shelter"). McFeeley's cartoonish artwork provides little added value to this forgettable venture. Ages 3-7.
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