Toen kwam Sam
Heart-warming story about a friendship between a boy and a stray dog
‘Seeing him was always a surprise, because he was so beautiful and white, and a little bit mysterious.’ Nine-year-old Kix and his younger sister Emilia fall in love with a big Pyrenean mountain dog the instant he walks into their lives. The dog is nervous and thin, with sad eyes and tangles in his ‘warm snowy fur’. Slowly the children gain his trust. But where did he come from?
This heart-warming story is one of Edward van de Vendel’s best books so far, mainly because of its tone. Based on a true story, it flows as if telling itself. Kix’s voice and experiences strike the reader as utterly authentic.
Kix and his sister want to keep the dog and they decide to call him Sam. But Kix’s dad discovers that the dog actually belongs to a disturbed character called Cracker, the son of the nasty neighbours across the road. It’s not long before Sam becomes the focus of a quarrel between neighbours. Things get particularly tense during a night-time mission to liberate Sam, which leads to shotguns being used. Yet the story remains entirely credible. Part two, Sam’s Riddles, is no less exciting: the dog disappears and Kix sets off in search of him.
Philip Hopman’s lively pen-and-ink drawings are outstanding, making Sam look wonderfully lumbering and sweet.