From Publishers Weekly
Scatterbrain Sam, a knickers-wearing eccentric with a heart of gold, discovers that brains aren't the most important thing in the world in this rollicking version of an old Welsh folktale. Jackson (Turn of the Century) moves her kind-hearted but slow-witted hero to small-town America and gives him two sharp womenfolk to help him in his search for more smarts. The town's Widder Woman agrees to make a potion to glue Sam's brains together, but requires the answers to several riddles in exchange. Maizie Mae, Sam's pilot sweetheart, always arrives at his side in time to supply the solutions. Anxious for a look at the potion, Maizie topples into the woman's big vat, but Sam saves her in a heartbeat. Maybe he doesn't need the potion after all. "You got some brains gathered together, boy," Widder Woman states flatly, pointing to Maizie Mae. "Hers." Erstwhile political cartoonist Faulkner's (The Amazing Voyage of Jackie Grace) drawings capture Sam's sheepish charm; period-detail sets are enlivened by crackpot additions like high tops-shod horses and grinning coastal rock formations. The combination of the snappy text and silly but sincere adult hero, plus a pack of outlandish whoppers ("The glue raced through Jed MacGruder's barn, hanging the barn door back on its hinges and shoeing a couple of horses"), is sure to entertain scatterbrained and cool-headed readers alike. All ages.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
Grade 3-6-Scatterbrain Sam is the distant down-home cousin of "Morgan and the Pot of Brains," a Welsh tale told by Ellen Pugh. This adaptation is a funny, folksy tall tale filled with exaggeration and sly humor. It is set in mid-20th-century America, and Jackson has freely updated and modified the old story. Sam is so scatterbrained, "he didn't know nothing about nothing," so he asks Widder Woman to help fix his brains. She offers a glue-stew remedy for which the young man must provide the flavoring with things that he loves. When that proves to be too difficult, he is given riddles to solve and only with the help of Maizie Mae, a golden-haired aviatrix with her own stunt plane, does Sam begin to find the solution. When Maizie falls into the sticky concoction, Sam follows the glue flood through town and finally realizes what he truly loves. He takes the Widder's advice and marries Maizie and they fly off together into the sunset. This is a rollicking good tale with exuberant cartoonlike watercolor-and-gouache paintings. Faulkner covers each spread with warm colors, visual jokes, and intriguing details. Boxes of text neatly carry the story across the pages. This book is both clever and full of energy. It begs to be read aloud and will be a delightful addition to most collections.
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Beth Tegart, Oneida City Schools, NY
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.