Sammy the Seal

Published in 1959, Sammy the Seal was the third book Syd Hoff wrote for the “I Can Read” series. 

The plot is much like Danny and the Dinosaur. Sammy the seal lives in the zoo, but he is sad because he wants to go see what it’s like outside. He has been a good seal, so the zookeeper lets him go. Sammy sees some sights, and has a little adventure looking for water to swim in. 

Hoff’s sense of humor sneaks in here as well. 

Sammy sees a line of children going into school, and he joins them. The teacher doesn’t notice him until she hears someone barking rather than singing. She does let Sammy stay. He learns to read and write, and gets to play ball with the children, something he’s quite good at.

The children hope Sammy will be back at school the next day. He tells them he had fun, but that he belongs in the zoo. Sammy concludes that, “There’s no place like home.” 

Once again, Hoff tells a good story with common beginning-reader words. Animal names like “giraffe” and “monkey” can be tricky, but each one is presented on its own page on which the animal is prominent in the illustration.You will probably have to help with some of the people’s names, like Mr. Johnson, Dorothy, and Agnes. But each of these is only used once. Sammy the Seal is another excellent beginning reader.  

You can buy Sammy the Seal at

For more recommendations, please see the lists on our Early Readers page.