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Literature / There's Something About Sam

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Max is in for a surprise.
There’s Something About Sam is a children’s book written by Hannah Barnaby and illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf.

Max is hesitant to invite Michael and new kid Sam to his birthday sleepover. Michael because he picks his nose, Sam because, well, there’s something off about him. With advice from his mother, he invites them both. Sam is admired by the other three boys invited to the sleepover, for his Super Speed and his ability to tell what’s cooking prior to lunch. The new kid himself is initially unsure if he’s able to come to the party, as “there’s a full moon that night”.

Some of you might know where this is going.


Provides Examples Of:

  • An Aesop: Even the most different of people can be good friends.
  • Bizarre Taste in Food: Sam likes his burger rare. Of course, this could make a human child sick, but it should be known that wolves are perfectly capable of consuming raw meat.
  • Covers Always Lie: The cover for the book shows Max and Sam dancing in front of the full moon. That’s not the issue, because they indeed do that. The issue is that Sam doesn’t appear to be in his transformed state.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: Just before the page Max realizes it, you can see that Sam has grown fangs.
  • The Ghost: Max's dad is not seen, but he is around, as Sam tells him he prefers his burger rare.
  • Informed Flaw: Michael is said to pick his nose, but he never does so in the book.
  • Irony: Max’s friends admire Sam at school, while Max finds something off. During the sleepover, Max takes an interest in Sam's behavior while the other kids are disturbed. The other kids are ultimately freaked out when they discover Sam is a werewolf,note  while Max finds it awesome.
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  • Kids Shouldn't Watch Horror Films: Averted, as Max's parents are apparently perfectly alright with the kids watching something called Night of the Zombie Squirrels, and besides, the movie isn't the thing that scares Michael, Eliott, or Jeremy. It's Sam's transformation.
  • Little Bit Beastly: On full moon nights, Sam gains claws, fangs, and extra hair to go with the Pointy Ears he always has, but still looks human for the most part.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: In contrast to the Trailers Always Spoil example below, we are also told in the description that everyone in Max's class is invited to his sleepover when in the actual book it's only the boys.
  • No Name Given: Max’s parents and cat.
  • The Nose Knows: Elliott points out that Sam always knows what’s cooking way before lunch. This trope is strongly implied to be the reason why when Sam is shown to be a werewolf.
  • Not Using the "Z" Word: The term werewolf is never said out loud, though it’s clear that Sam is just that.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: Sam still looks hominid for the most part, albeit with clawed, furry hands and fangs. He also has his mind and memories intact, albeit implied to be with more lupine instinct. Also, it doesn't seem to be a virus or spreadable curse, as Sam bites Jeremy at one point (or at least tries to) and Jeremy doesn't transform.
  • Pointy Ears: Sam is portrayed with these, to give an early hint that he’s not human.
  • Prejudice Aesop: Max initially finds Sam weird, but ultimately loves his differences.
  • The Reveal: Sam is a werewolf.
  • Shout-Out: The kids' romp through the yard at night was confirmed to be based on the Wild Rumpus from Where the Wild Things Are.
    • There is also a dragon figurine in Max's room that strongly resembles Toothless.
  • Slumber Party: Max's birthday party.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Reading the description of Sam “being wary of the full moon, preferring his hamburgers rare, and biting the others during Twister” will most likely have older readers able to tell that these are signs of lycanthropy.
  • Wolf Man: What Sam ultimately turns out to be.