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They Call Me No Sam!


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Year Published

Book Review

Naked-monkey-things always seem to get upset at No Sam! I mean, so he soiled the rug. That’s what rugs are for, am I right? Oh well, he’s determined to do his job and protect them, nonetheless.

Plot Summary

His real name is Grrowlo-Ruff-Ruff. He’s an authentic human being.

Of course, you probably already guessed that. I mean if anyone with a lick of sense, or paw to scratch with, simply took a look at him, they’d instantly see human being: Soft fur; four legs; droopy ears; a wagging tail; he’s got the whole shebang.

However, the naked-monkey-things that Grrowlo has lived with aren’t all that bright. They even get upset when he chews on a chewing chair or poops on the lovely pooping rug they kindly put by the front door. He dutifully does his business and then sweetly waits for praise.

Instead, they shake a finger and get red in the face for no apparent reason. And it’s difficult for him to understand why they don’t understand. I mean, why did they buy those items and put them in his house if he wasn’t supposed to use them?

The naked-monkey-things can’t even seem to get his name right. They keep calling him “No Sam!”

That’s OK, though, he’s flexible.

No Sam!, you see, is a good and loyal person. And as such, he knows exactly how to fulfill the unspoken contract that human beings and naked-monkey-things have had since the dawn of time. He will protect.

No Sam!’s personal naked-monkey-thing, named Justin, may be dim-witted, but he’s good. Justin has these things called hands, don’t you know. They can open food bags and deliver scratchies—the most sensational, marvelous physical treat ever created.

Just a few scratchies on specific zones on No Sam!’s body is the equivalent of pressing magic buttons that cause his tongue to shoot out and his leg to start kicking all on its own.

“You want some scratchies, buddy?” Justin will ask.

“YES SIR, I DO WANT SCRATCHIES!” No Sam! will quickly reply. And their bond will be sealed.

And from this day forward No Sam! will diligently fulfill his end of the bargain and protect Justin. No need for applause, that’s just his job. He will keep the whole family safe from certain destruction.

Christian Beliefs


Other Belief Systems

No Sam! sees everything around him through a “dog-view” lens. And in a way, the book is an earnest and innocent perspective and, if you will, belief system. That (humorous) perspective not only helps explain a typical dog’s reaction to things such as a noisy vacuum cleaner or hair dryer, but it also narrows the world to a simple structure of right, wrong and loyalty. (Even then, however, No Sam! gets those things mixed up sometimes.)

After spending many hours in front of a TV (while with Mike, his previous owner), No Sam! walks away with a distinct impression that the world outside is populated by monsters and evil magicians. In fact, he thinks a neighbor girl is a sorceress. He takes steps to thwart her evil magic (though it’s all in his doggy head).

Authority Roles

As mentioned, No Sam! originally has an owner named Mike. And the two don’t always get along well. No Sam! even starts to wonder why Mike wants a human being like him around since they nearly never see one another or go for walks.

After being picked up by an animal shelter, No Sam! ends up adopted by a lonely teen boy named Justin Peterson. And the two get along super well. And though the two sometimes work at odds because of No Sam!’s doggy perspective, Justin shows the pup love and they become inseparable.

Justin has a mom and dad who are both scientists, and both are very busy working on a specific project. But they also recognize that they need to dedicate more time to their son whenever they can. It’s obvious that the two parents love Justin.

Some spy-like agents are determined to steal the Petersons’ secrets. But No Sam! keeps accidentally foiling the bad guys’ plans.

Profanity & Violence

There’s no bad language here. The agents give No Sam! a chunk of meat laced with a sleeping agent.

There are a couple thumping accidents in the mix, including a truck that crashes into a pond and a building that’s demolished. No Sam! runs headfirst into a cement object and gets knocked out cold. He also crashes headfirst into a sliding glass door.

No Sam! also creates some havoc indoors and out as he runs around after a cat and does other doggy deeds.

Sexual Content

Justin is new to town and No Sam! can smell the anxiousness and loneliness on him. He also senses that Justin longs to meet a neighbor girl named Phoebe whom he’s attracted to. No Sam! accidentally helps them meet and become friends.

A neighbor next door has several statues in her large garden, including a muscular shirtless man and a fountain with a small urinating cherub. (There’s no sexual detail on either image.)

We humans are called “naked-monkey-things” by No Sam!

Discussion Topics

Have you ever wondered what goes through a dog’s mind when it reacts the way it does? Did No Sam!’s story—as silly as it is—answer some of your questions or make you think about how a pet sees things?

One thing this tale addresses is No Sam!’s loyalty to Justin. What do you think the book is trying to say with that story? Is loyalty something we should nurture in ourselves and others? Why?

No Sam! also came to understand that his perspective on things might not always be correct. Then he changed his actions. Is that something we should think about, too? Is it wise to question things around us so that we’re not being accidently led astray?

What was your favorite part of this book?

Additional Comments

Author Drew Daywalt’s story delivers a funny take on what’s in a dog’s head. And at the same time, it asks young readers to consider things such as loyalty and friendship, while asking them to be aware of other people’s perspectives.

That said, moms and dads should note that there are lots of potty humor quips throughout, involving pet bodily functions, garbage digging, and mess making.

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Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not necessarily their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book’s review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

Review by Bob Hoose