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Sam, Bangs & Moonshine (Owlet Book) by…

Sam, Bangs & Moonshine (Owlet Book) (original 1966; edition 1971)

by Evaline Ness, Evaline Ness (Illustrator)

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Title:Sam, Bangs & Moonshine (Owlet Book)
Authors:Evaline Ness
Other authors:Evaline Ness (Illustrator)
Info:Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) (1971), Paperback, 48 pages
Collections:Read but unowned, Child/Youth Books

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Sam, Bangs & Moonshine by Evaline Ness (1966)



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Summary: This is a story of a little girl with a very active imagination. Sam, short for Samantha, lives her life full of fantasy and honestly believes what she says. Everyone else knows you can’t believe anything Sam says, except for Thomas, the little boy down the street. He believes Sam when she says she has a baby kangaroo and stops by her house every afternoon in an attempt to see the baby kangaroo. Sam always has an excuse for why the baby kangaroo is not at home and every day Thomas goes wherever she says the kangaroo has gone in an attempt to find it. Until one day, her fancy storytelling, which her father calls moonshine, sends Thomas into danger and Sam learns that her nonsense storytelling could be dangerous. Sam learns the difference between what is real and what is moonshine.

Personal Reflection: I enjoyed this story and liked the fact that Sam had such an active imagination. As a child my son lived in a “batman world” and had a very active imagination so I can relate to the dad trying not to suffocate Sam’s imagination but at the same time trying to help her see that fiction is fun but truth is necessary. Sometimes children find it difficult to separate what is real and what is “moonshine”.

Classroom Extension: (minimum of 2)
1. This would be a great story to teach children about telling the truth.
2. This could be used in conjunction with a study of Abraham Lincoln and his “honest Abe” reputation.
3. A great story to introduce fiction and non-fiction. Fiction is moonshine and non-fiction is real. Moonshine is fun.
4. Students could also draw pictures of the baby kangaroo in its various locations since we don’t really see the baby kangaroo until the very end, and even then it’s not really a baby kangaroo. ( )
  msmarymac | Mar 21, 2014 |
The winner of the Caldecott Medal, in 1967, Sam, Bangs & Moonshine is a lovely little picture-book that follows the story of fisherman's daughter Sam (Samantha), whose penchant for telling lies - or making "Moonshine" - leads her into trouble one stormy day. Constantly making up stories - about her mermaid mother (her real mother is dead), her chariot drawn by dragons (the everyday rug in her house) - Sam uses the world of make-believe to cope with a reality that isn't always easy to face. But when her stories about her baby kangaroo put her young neighbor Thomas - who believes them implicitly - and her beloved cat Bangs in real danger, Sam must confront the fact that sometimes "moonshine" can hurt, as much as it helps...

Although I have read a number of folktale adaptations illustrated by Evaline Ness - Algernon D. Black's The Woman of the Wood: A Tale From Old Russia, Charles Scribner, Jr.'s The Devil's Bridge: A Legend - this was the first book both written and illustrated by Ness that I have encountered. I have to say, I am very impressed! I found the narrative to be a sensitive and moving portrait of a young girl's first encounter with true consequences (although thankfully, all ends happily!), and the illustrations - done in black and white, with color accents in brown and grayish-blue - perfectly suited to the tale, accentuating the emotion of each scene. The style here is somewhat vintage, and not something I would normally find outstanding, but somehow - here - it all works. This one definitely deserved the Caldecott, I think! ( )
  AbigailAdams26 | Apr 17, 2013 |
For some reason this book hasn't been checked out in five years from my library. I don't know why. I mean, the main character's name is Samantha, called Sam, which I of course think is the best name in the world. Okay, so she makes up stories and bad things happen because of it, and I'm not super impressed with the pictures.

Caldecott Medal, 1967 ( )
  scote23 | Mar 30, 2013 |
I did not like this book. It was scary, and while I don't believe in sheltering children from reality, this was a bit much. It could be used to teach about the importance of telling the truth, I suppose.
  hcurrey | Feb 13, 2013 |
I thought that this book was well written with an exciting story line. My reaction to this book was positive because I never knew what going to be on the next page. Ness's imaginations flows in the story as the main character has a mind full of ideas that lead to some serious troubles. Sam, the main character, tells exaggerated and made up stories that are referred to as 'moonshine'. This connotation is funny to the older person in saying that lies and fibbing are like moonshine: dangerous. I thought that this story was delightful with a sad part but was quickly revamped in the end with lessons learned by Sam based on her experiences in the story.

The main points of the book were to educate the reader about the dangers of lying to people. The book gave a lesson on the difference between real (truth) and moonshine (lie). Throughout the book the story line focuses on how the lies Sam tells and then the outcome of her lies. The messaged that is gained from the book is that lies can cause severe harm to others even though the individual that tells them may have no intention of getting that person or group hurt. Lies can be harmful to all those involved.
  JackieL1 | Sep 22, 2012 |
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On a small island, near a large harbor, there once lived a fisherman's little daughter (names Samantha, but always called Sam), who had the reckless habit or lying.
On a small island, near a large harbor, there once lived a fisherman's little daughter (named Samantha, but always called Sam), who had the reckless habit of lying.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0805003150, Paperback)

Samantha (known as Sam) is a fisherman’s daughter who dreams rich and lovely dreams--moonshine, her father says. But when her tall stories bring disaster to her friend Thomas and her cat Bangs, Sam learns to distinguish between moonshine and reality.
Sam, Bangs & Moonshine is the winner of the 1967 Caldecott Medal.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:39:24 -0400)

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Relates the experiences of a little girl as she learns to tell the difference between makebelieve and real life.

(summary from another edition)

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