Skip to Main Content

Sam the Man & the Chicken Plan

Book #1 of Sam the Man
Illustrated by Amy June Bates


Buy from Other Retailers

About The Book

Sam the Man wants to earn some money and he’s got a cluck-worthy plan in this endearing chapter book that’s the first in a new series from Frances O’Roark Dowell.

Sam the Man needs a job. His sister gets twenty bucks a pop for mowing people’s lawns. But seven-year-olds aren’t allowed to mow lawns, so Sam decides to ask his next door neighbor if she needs help doing other chores. It turns out she’ll pay him a whole dollar each time he can convince her dad, Mr. Stockfish, to join him for a daily walk. But it turns out that getting Mr. Stockfish to leave the living room isn’t easy. AND a dollar a pop isn’t going to cut it.

So when Mrs. Kerner, another neighbor, asks if Sam would like to watch her chickens, Sam jumps on the task. Watching chickens is more fun than he expects, and comes with an added bonus: it turns out that visiting the chickens is the one thing that can coax Mr. Stockfish out of the house. But what does a seven-year-old do with all the money he’s earning? It’s not enough for a bike, and too much for candy. But wait! It’s just enough for a chicken of his own—the kind that lays BLUE eggs! Soon he has a whole waiting list of kids who want to buy a blue egg. And what does Sam plan on doing with his new fortune? Buy Mr. Stockfish his own chicken, of course!


Sam the Man & the Chicken Plan

A Job for Sam
Sam Graham wanted a job.

Everyone else in his family had a job. His dad did something with computers, and his mom did something with clients, and his sister, Annabelle, who was twelve, mowed lawns.

“Twenty bucks a pop,” Annabelle said when she came home from a job, sweaty and flecked with little bits of grass. “Hard to beat.”

“What can I do for twenty bucks a pop?” Sam asked his mom.

“There aren’t many jobs for seven-year-olds,” his mom said. “I’ll give you a dollar to clean your room.”

Sam didn’t want a job that only paid one buck a pop.

Besides, his room didn’t need cleaning.

When Mrs. Kerner stopped by to see if Annabelle would take care of her chickens while she was away, Annabelle said she couldn’t do it.

“I have three lawns to mow this weekend,” she told Mrs. Kerner. “Hate to say it, but there’s no time for chickens.”

Sam raced over to Mrs. Kerner. He waved his arms in the air. “I’ll take care of your chickens!”

“You’re only seven,” Mrs. Kerner said. “Seven-year-olds don’t know the first thing about chickens.”

“I know they lay eggs,” Sam said, holding up one finger.

“I know they like to be around other chickens,” he added, holding up a second finger.

He tried to think of one more thing he had learned on the second-grade field trip to the farm.

Aha! He held up a third finger. “I know their poop is good for the garden.”

“Don’t say ‘poop,’ ” said Mrs. Kerner.

“I like the way it sounds,” said Sam.

“Still,” said Mrs. Kerner. “Still and all.”

She looked at Sam for a long time. “You know a lot about chickens. But you’re awfully small.”

“I’m bigger than a raccoon,” said Sam.

“I despise raccoons,” said Mrs. Kerner.

“Me too,” said Sam.

“Okay, then,” said Mrs. Kerner. “I think we can work together.”

About The Author

Photograph (c) Clifton Dowell

Frances O’Roark Dowell is the bestselling and critically acclaimed author of Dovey Coe, which won the Edgar Award and the William Allen White Award; Where I’d Like to BeThe Secret Language of Girls and its sequels The Kind of Friends We Used to Be and The Sound of Your Voice, Only Really Far AwayChicken BoyShooting the Moon, which was awarded the Christopher Award; the Phineas L. MacGuire series; Falling InThe Second Life of Abigail Walker, which received three starred reviews; Anybody Shining; Ten Miles Past NormalTrouble the Water; the Sam the Man series; The ClassHow to Build a Story; and most recently, Hazard. She lives with her family in Durham, North Carolina. Connect with Frances online at

About The Illustrator

Provided by the author

Amy June Bates has illustrated books including the Sam the Man series; Sweet Dreams and That’s What I’d Do, both by singer-songwriter Jewel; and Waiting for the Magic by Patricia MacLachlan. She is the author-illustrator of The Big Umbrella, about which Booklist raved, “A boundlessly inclusive spirit...This open-ended picture book creates a natural springboard for discussion.” She lives in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, with her husband and three children.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books (February 14, 2017)
  • Length: 144 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781481440677
  • Grades: 1 - 4
  • Ages: 6 - 9
  • Lexile ® 640L The Lexile reading levels have been certified by the Lexile developer, MetaMetrics®

Browse Related Books

Awards and Honors

  • Gryphon Award Honor Book

Resources and Downloads

High Resolution Images

More books from this author: Frances O'Roark Dowell

More books from this illustrator: Amy June Bates

More books in this series: Sam the Man