Title: Sammy’s Broken Leg (Oh No!) and the Amazing Cast That Fixed It
Author: Judith Wolf Mandell
Reviewed by: Anne Holmes
For the NABBW

“Sammy’s Broken Leg” is an amazing book! Perfect gift for a grandchild who’s broken a bone – or is about to experience some other sort of potentially scary medical procedure.

I recall my mother having to hold a wriggling, screaming four-year old – me – in her lap as my sister and I were being prepped for T&A surgery back in the mid-50s. No one could convince me they weren’t trying to kill me with the needle the phlebotomist was trying to insert in order to type my blood.

Decades later, I experienced the same challenges with my own kids. My husband and I will never forget taking our junior-high school-aged son to the ER when he practically sliced off a finger in a wood carving accident.

In that situation, one of us had to use our entire weight to hold his lower body still on the examining table, while the other similarly wrestled with his upper half. All so the ER doc on duty could inject the necessary painkiller prior to stitching him up! (And when we left the ER, people in the waiting room actually asked us if we were the people who had been creating all the commotion!)

Experienced parents – and grandparents – know the best way to handle pediatric doctor and ER visits is to calmly prep them in advance – no later than in the car as you drive to the appointment – on what to expect, what might hurt, how long the pain might last, and the anticipated outcome once the procedure is complete!

This is probably more beneficial than promoting ice cream for good behavior! 

Judith Wolf Mandell’s book is upbeat, colorful, entertaining – and tells the important story of what happens when a little girl seriously breaks a bone. I loved the fact that it’s based on her real-life experience with her (then two-year old) granddaughter, who has to wear a spica cast after an unfortunate trampoline landing. Thankfully Sammy recovered well, and now 11, she loves to share her story with others. (Especially urging those who may also be in spica casts to remember that a cast is temporary.)

Beyond the power of the simple story, and the pleasure of the illustrations, my favorite part of the book is “the kisses” which occur throughout the book, and which only Sammy can hear.

This is a perfect book to give any child in advance of a planned procedure that will result in a cast. It’s a great book to read in the pediatrician’s office. And good for teachers who might want to educate primary school children on why another child is in a cast. The bright and upbeat illustrations by Lise C. Brown are perfect.

Highly recommended!