Sammy and the Skyscraper Sandwich by Lorraine Francis

Values: Determination, Confidence, Self-Belief, Creativity.

This larger-than-life book is perfect for pre-schoolers, EYFS or KS1. It is packed full of fun and creativity! I bought it directly from Book Island and already know I will be getting another copy before May which is when my twin nieces turn three. They will love it! Incidentally, the A3 cardboard 'board-book' style pages also make this book not only come to life, but perfect for little hands who are not always as gentle as they need to be with thin pages.

In this striking picturebook, Sammy is very hungry and sets about making the world's biggest sandwich. He uses all kind of ingredients and eventually the sandwich sky-rockets through the whole house and receives lots of compliments not only from Sammy's parents, but also from the neighbours, a boy on a hot air balloon and a man with a megaphone!

The teacher in me would use this book right up to Year 2 and we would make crazy sandwiches with the children before writing sentences to describe them - a fun way of pairing suitable adjectives with nouns or learning how to use commas in lists. There are also some fabulous vocabulary choices to discuss in the book: wobbled, teetered, bolstering, a dash of mustard, boomed, spring of parsley...

From a Values perspective, Sammy consistently shows determination. It can't be easy to build the biggest sandwich in the world, seemingly all alone! The sandwich has to dodge obstacles and reach the dizzying heights of a skyscraper without toppling over! What perseverance. This is a really fun way to explore this Value with little children: you could ask them why this may have been a difficult task for Sammy.

You could also link this book to the Values of confidence and self-belief. Sammy decides he is going to build the tallest sandwich in the world... and that's what he does! Nobody tells him he is too young or too little. He believes he can do it, and he works tirelessly all day to achieve his goal. I really like the way the author, Lorraine Francis, never places an ounce of doubt in the reader's mind (or Sammy's mind) that he will succeed. Does it matter if it is really the biggest sandwich in the world? Of course not!

I think this also book celebrates a Creativity. This may or may not be a Value as such, but it is a quality most adults would hope to develop and nurture in children. Sammy explores some unusual ingredients, and this can spark lots of discussion with the children: what would you put in your sandwich? What would you avoid? Which flavours might go well together? Sammy is unapologetic about his food choices, and is creative in not only how he gathers them, but also how he uses engineering to ensure his sandwich stays upright. Maybe you could encourage children to build a tower and work out how to ensure it doesn't fall over? It doesn't have to be food-related, of course. Maybe it is a great way of introducing children to new foods they may not have seen or smelt or tried before.

I think this book is great for a Values bookshelf. It is light-hearted (the ending is hilarious!), ambitious and works well with discussions about growth mindset too. A really good choice for younger children to introduce Values early on. Grab yours at Book Island! The illustrations by Pieter Gaudesaboos are so eye-catching too!

You can also explore other books with the same Values in this review by clicking on the hashtags below: