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Sam and the Firefly Hardcover – September 12, 1958


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Sam and the Firefly + A Fish Out of Water (Beginner Books) + A Fly Went by (Beginner Books(R))
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 3 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 2
  • Hardcover: 72 pages
  • Publisher: Beginner Books (September 12, 1958)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394800060
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394800066
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.5 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,470 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Illus. in color. The story of an incredible twosome that "provides interest, suspense and word repetition. Illustrations excellent. Recommended."--(starred) School Library Journal.

About the Author

P. D. Eastman was one of the stars of the Beginner Books line with beloved classics like Are You My Mother?; Go, Dog. Go!; The Best Nest; and more!


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Customer Reviews

I love the illustrations and the story is cute.
Doug
A great book both as a story book to be read to younger children and a first reader for children as they get older and learn to read themselves.
M. Prior
This is another book that stands out as one of my childhood favorites.
Marc Schmatjen - Author of The Sycamore Detective Agency

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

57 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Gillian M. Kendall on June 9, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I have never forgotten reading *Sam and the Firefly* as a child, and I never will. One of my children projects all of his naughty deeds onto Sam; the other wants me to be sure to read every single word on every single page. This is a book that, on all levels, just plain works.
Gus is a law-abiding owl who teaches Sam to make words with his fire-fly light. Sam likes the words but soon is into mischief, writing "cold dogs" above a hot dog stand and nearly causing a riot by writing "free" above a movie theater. His tricks border on the dark as he almost causes cars to collide. The scary darkness of the tale never comes to anything but engages the reader completely. My children worried about the outcome, and wondered (like Gus) how to control Sam. The book even becomes tense when Sam ends up in a closed glass jar and needs rescuing.
Yes, Gus is a lot like a parent. Sam is a lot like a child. And the book is full of learning to read and testing limits and innocently causing real danger and true friendship and sticking together and...it amazes me how seamlessly Eastman puts all of this material together in a riveting story. This may be the best Eastman book of all. It may also be one of the least preachy and most educational books I know. Dark and light, good and bad. It's all there.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 3, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Sam and the firefly is a super book for many reasons. First of all, Sam and the Firefly is the first book I learned how to read. My mother read it to me every night, until she started letting me read some of the words, and soon, I could read the whole book. (I didn't memorize the book, either.)I highly recommend that you give this book to youngsters who are beginning to read. This book also has a cute plot that will capture youngster's attention, and the illustrations are very fun. This book is a fun read, and I will treasure it forever.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By M. Allen Greenbaum HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on December 22, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is a great going-to-bed book-but only for the first seven pages. During this opening sequence, Sam the Owl calls out "who wants to play," but the misty blue-grey landscape reveals sleeping animals only. Then, on pages 8-9, Sam sees the light-or rather-a light, the one on the tail of the very spirited Gus the Firefly! Following Sam, firefly Gus illuminates the night sky with zigs and zags, and he begins to spell brightly lit words in the night sky. Intoxicated by the power of words, Gus misdirects airplanes, advertises a "FREE SHOW" at the theater, changes "hot dogs" to "COLD dogs," and performs other `bad tricks.' But what will happen when the understandably angry hotdog seller captures Gus?

P. D. Eastman's enduring story is funny, exciting, and easy to read. The firefly's bright yellow words are dazzling, especially for small fry, and the story shows the power of words (for good and for bad) and the value of friendship. A great find you may remember from years past, this is another fine volume in the "Beginners Book" series from Random House.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By boxwood100 TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 3, 2005
Format: Hardcover
When I was learning to read many, many moons ago, this was one of my absolutely favorite books. I about wore out the pages of both this one and Go Dog Go. It's very captivating to young children to watch the light of the firefly as he draws out the words and it's fun to see them try to figure out what each word says. I read this to a toddler and he has a bunch of them figured out already. It's such a captivating story too - how Sam the owl tries to keep Gus the lightening bug from getting into trouble, and causing trouble. When he finally stops being so bad after having time to sit in a jar for a while in "time out," Gus saves the day by getting a train to stop before it hits the Hot Dog man's truck which is stopped on the tracks. The ending is pretty cute when he goes to see Sam every night to play and writes, "Wake Up Sam." You can't miss on this book - it is just adorable! Plus it's one of the best books out there to teach kids how to read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By J. Miller on April 19, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This was my favorite book growing up. I owned a copy and I still checked it out of the library so I could read it at school. At age 4, the story was engaging and the moral easy to understand. At 5-6, the story was still great, but the challenge of reading words with such a wide range of difficulty kept me interested for years.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By James C. Blasius on August 24, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I had this book as a child. It still has my favorite artwork of any of the children's books. The picture of the sleeping world, the hot dog stand, the approaching train with the truck stuck on the tracks are all etched in memory.

Eastman was a formidable children's author. His illustrations for Go Dog Go! and A Fish Out of Water were both marvelous too. And the junked car in Are You My Mother - way spooky, you understand why little bird ran away.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 13, 1998
Format: Hardcover
I remember reading this as a child and it still holds up. Great images of flying around at night and getting in and out of trouble. My favorite P.D. Eastman book after Go Dog Go.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michael King on January 25, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I am reminded of myself and my neighborhood playmates when I read this book. I first read it to myself at age six (I'm now 57!). At that time, I'm sure, my perceptions of myself were more like Sam the owl. Gus the firefly was (I thought) more like my big brother and the "rotten" kids in the neighborhood. Their idea of "fun" occasionally wound up getting me or someone else hurt.

Now that I"m older and wiser, I see a bit of myself in both of these characters. While it is certainly tempting to read this book to children approving of Sam and disdaining Gus, I think a better approach would be to acknowledge that we are all a bit like Sam and a bit like Gus. After all, Gus wasn't really out to hurt anyone--he just wanted to have fun. His problem was that he could only see his actions' consequences from his own point of view.

I, too, write fiction for children. This is precisely the sort of story that I endeavor to create: believable characters sharing interesting adventures through realistic dialogue that results in a tale that is at once entertaining and spiritually edifying. Bravo, P.D. Eastman! Well done!
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