Book: Samson: The Piranha Who Went to Dinner
Author: Tadgh Bentley
Age Range: 4-8
Samson: The Piranha Who Went to Dinner by Tadgh Bentley is about a "rather adventurous" piranha who likes to try new things. Most of all, Samson dreams of "eating fine food at the fanciest restaurants". Of course, fearsome piranhas are not generally welcome at fancy restaurants. Samson, however, is determined to give it a try. Only after a series of disguises fail, however, does Samson happen upon a real solution to his problem.
Tadgh Bentley fills Samson: The Piranha Who Went to Dinner with a lush vocabulary and hints of humor, together with read-aloud-friendly enthusiasm. Like this:
"His friends were right. He couldn't get into a restaurant looking like a piranha.
But maybe he COULD get in looking like something else. He would need a disguise!
Samson checked his moustache and fluffed his eyebrows. He could almost taste the luscious lily linguine and the sizzling seaweed sausages!
"Pardon me, but I believe you have a reservation for Samson P. Rana?""
Get it? P. Rana? Five years olds will like it. I liked the alliteration in "luscious lily linguine and the sizzling seaweed sausages". I also enjoyed expostulations like "SCALEY NEPTUNE'S CRABCAKES!" on the part of the restaurant staff members.
Bentley's illustrations use deep underwater tones, blues and greens tinged with gray, dramatized with huge red letters when the various restaurant people shriek: "PIRANHA!". There are some nice details, too. I particularly enjoyed scenes showing Samson's boring friends, sitting around an underwater living room, one of them actually resident inside of an old television set. Samson, with his huge teeth, is not exactly an attractive creature, but his expressions do evoke sympathy, and his disguises are funny and cute.
I found the resolution of Samson: The Piranha Who Went to Dinner to be a bit easy, but the final scene is humorous and apt. My daughter found this book hilarious, and will surely want to read it again. Samson: The Piranha Who Went to Dinner takes an initially unsympathetic main character (who likes piranhas?) and makes readers root for him. It has a nice mix of humor and rich, alliterative vocabulary, making it a good recommendation for storytime read-aloud. This is a fun book that I'm happy to have read, and to recommend.
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (@HarperChildrens)
Publication Date: February 7, 2017
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher
© 2017 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook. This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through affiliate links (including linked book covers) may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).