October 27, 2017

Sam & Eva

Written and illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
40 pp.
Ages 4-8
October 2017

Young artists Sam and Eva may create in different media–she uses paint, he uses chalk–but it's all about the art.  That is until Sam's velociraptor goes after Eva's marmot.  Then it's "game on" between the two creative children as their artistic creations battle it out for wall space and story dominance.
From Sam & Eva
by Debbie Ridpath Ohi
The story starts with Sam busily creating when Eva offers to collaborate with him, though she mistakenly calls his velociraptor a pony.  Oops.  Needless to say, Sam is not impressed and declines her offer and erases her contribution. But then she paints her own creature, a marmot, which he identifies as a cat and allows his hungry velociraptor to attack.  
From Sam & Eva
by Debbie Ridpath Ohi
But, with a duelling paintbrush, Eva creates a friend for her marmot which comes to its defence.  Not to be outdone, Sam adds an ominous companion of his own.  Then as each changes their artwork and adds new components to outdo the other, the artwork gets away from them both.  It is only with a little cooperation and teamwork that Sam and Eva can escape the mayhem and start a new artistic course.
From Sam & Eva
by Debbie Ridpath Ohi
Oh, Sam and Eva, you little darlings! They're friends but they want to be independent and creative and, like play can do, it gets a little out of hand.  I'm sure there's an adult somewhere who would love to declare, "It's all fun and games until someone gets hurt!" Or a velociraptor goes after a little marmot.  And, even though the text is subtle and the dialogue effective in drawing the two together and apart, Sam & Eva is so well illustrated that it could work as a wordless picture book. 

I first reviewed a book illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi five years ago (I'm Bored, written by Michael Ian Black, Simon & Schuster, 2012) and was charmed by her creations.  She was able to create a potato with attitude!  Though I would never consider the children to have attitude, Sam and Eva are emotive in their play: happy, pleased, proud, startled, distressed, angry and frustrated.  And Debbie Ridpath Ohi conveys that with just the slightest of lines and shape.  Even the flowers have facial expressions. It's wondrous!
From Sam & Eva
by Debbie Ridpath Ohi
(Book jacket)
Be sure to pay attention to details in Debbie Ridpath Ohi's illustrations.  Look for the chuckling monsters and the monster with scissors or the one grabbing Eva's hat.  Even the endpapers tell a story. The front endpaper is a blank wall awaiting work by chalk while the back endpaper is a kaleidoscope of colour from both paint and chalk.  

We know that art brings joy and that happiness is multilayered when it comes from children learning through play and cooperation and from the artistry of Debbie Ridpath Ohi.  Enjoy and learn.

Sam & Eva sticker from Debbie Ridpath Ohi


  1. Thank you SO MUCH for this wonderful post, Helen! I'm so glad you enjoyed my book. :-)

    1. Absolutely! I think kids will delight in the story and teachers and parents will appreciate the message.