Sam’s Sandwich by David Pelham

Sam's Sandwich by David Pelham

This book for kids from 1990 was playing on our brains of late. So we did some research and found it! Aimed at young lads, it’s about Sam and his need to make a sandwich for his sister.

Pretty miffed about that, he decides to make it as gross as possible. What a vagabond! The result is a great fun pop-up book to warp tiny minds into nefarious ways.

Sam’s Sandwich

Along with Where’s Wally? and The Twits, this is one of those childhood defining books that’s stuck with us.

Although we’d happily still read those books, we’ve also matured into proper adults. Indeed, whilst sipping at only the finest champagne, we listen to Beethoven and quote Solzhenitsyn to maximise profundity.

And yet… we have an entire exclusive recipes list filled with all sorts of nonsense like this book. Yes. But, in truth, we never went out there to poison anyone! Really, it’s your stupid fault if you tried out one of our experiments.

Anyway, Sam’s Sandwich unfolds with much snazzy panache. He’s charged with making a sandwich for his sister.

So, he decides to do just that. But just evil it up a notch. Behold!

Sam's Sandwich with the tomato page with a slug

Right, so this is a pop-up book. As the pages go along, he adds extra ingredients to the sandwich (with white bread—gross).

As you can see above, Sam gets a slug from the garden and sticks it in with the tomatoes.

The psychotic little git goes on to chuck in some ants, a worm, a snail, and a spider.

However, we’ve got to question the rather questionable ingredients, too. The lettuce, cress, and cucumber are all fine.

But then we get cheese, eggs, salami (!?), onions, and a splodge of ketchup. Doesn’t exactly sound appetising, does it?

Throw in all the stuff Sam stole from the garden and, yes, you have yourself a truly awful sandwich. Huzzah!

Now, it’s great for young lads this (as we mentioned earlier). And we loved it, reading over and over and no doubt chortling at that sadistic little git’s antics.

The book was a hit for Pelham, so he went on to make the likes of Sam’s Hamburger and Sam’s Pizza. All of which developed on the initial concept.

The designs became more fancy. But for many kids like ourselves, it was the mischievous nature of the first outing that’s stuck with us over the decades.

Pop-Up Books

Pop-up books remain a magical part of many childhood reading experiences. But there are also some incredibly advanced types around.

Really, it’s a rather striking work of art when done well, eh?

This style of book is pretty old now. The first known effort is from 1240—Chronica Majora. This was by the monk Matthew Paris. Written in Latin, it attempts a sort of A Little History of the World deal.

Other examples include Treatise on Perspective (1775) by Thomas Malton the Elder.

These were all intended for adults to begin with. But in more recent history, the intrinsic appeal for kids led to many types of entertaining pop-up books.

And why not? The genre has a broad appeal that can captivate young, old, and sandwich enthusiasts alike.


  1. I remember having pop-up books as a kid. Some of them included sliding parts to move things – very cool. All now gone though I still have a number of books from back then. This includes the entire Arthur Ransome ‘Swallows and Amazons’ series, which present as charming 1930s kids yachting adventures, but which I had to re-read for any hidden Communist dialectic after discovering Ransome was a personal friend of Vladimir Lenin, married Lenin’s secretary Evegnia, and lived in Moscow after the revolution. It turned out this was because he was a double agent working for MI6, and there wasn’t any secret messaging in the ‘Swallows and Amazons’ books. But they were still fun to read.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, those little sliding parts that you’d gawp at in wonder. Certainly, a pop-up book about communism would help kids wrap their heads around it nice and early, comrade. Even if it is through propaganda.

      Funny that, Swallows and Amazons. As with Enid Blyton’s books, her reputation has divebombed a bit due to revelations about her beliefs.

      Would be a fun article: Famous Writers You’d Hate In Real Life.

      Liked by 1 person

      • My Mum didn’t want us to read anything by Enid Blyton because the stories were so awful. That was actually how I got on to “Swallows and Amazons”, which were the alternative. (Apparently Ransome, in person, was a very kind and fun sort of person; but Evegnia, apparently, was a bit of a tartar.) On matters Blyton, the net outcome is that my sole knowledge of her stories are the Comic Strip’s ‘Five Go Mad In Dorset’, ‘Five Go Mad On Mescalin’, which my Mum said were actually pretty close to the real stories anyway.

        Liked by 1 person

        • The Comic Strip stuff was excellent, they did a great 1998 take as well just before Mayall’s accident.

          I don’t remember Blyton’s books much, although I did read them. They’ve just become a British “tradition” of sorts. Like Marmite, fish & chips, and tea.


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