Mapping Sam

illus. by Joyce Hesselberth. 40p. HarperCollins/Greenwillow. Oct. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062741226. POP
OrangeReviewStarPreS-Gr 3—Once Sam the cat makes sure her family is asleep, she sets out to explore the neighborhood. Hesselberth uses this conceit to build a playful yet informative narrative based around cartography. First readers explore an neighborhood map of the feline's initial travels before embarking on a journey that will take them to the edge of the universe and back. Hesselberth's maps range widely, from diagrams of Sam's anatomy, a plant, and a water molecule to charts of planets and stars to architectural drawings. Some common cartography terms like compass rose and legend are defined. The spare text emphasizes ways readers can find patterns and relationships in their surroundings and the artwork—done in watercolor, acrylic paint, gouache, and digital collage—presents this information visually. Hesselberth's Sam is perfectly catlike as her expressions shift among bemusement, curiosity, and sass. Additional context about each type of map is provided at the end of the book. These thumbnails will prove useful for older readers or adults working with beginners. Librarians will also want to seek out Julie Dillemuth's Mapping My Day and Loreen Leedy's Mapping Penny's World to extend conversations on this subject.
VERDICT An eye-catching introduction to maps, charts, and diagrams for the youngest of cartographers.

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