Sam and the Firefly by P. D. Eastman: Book Review

Title: Sam and the Firefly

Author: P. D. Eastman

Genre: Children, Early Reading

Sam and the Firefly is a lovely book for children, simple, fun, wondrous with attractive illustrations.

Published in 1958 and edited by Dr. Seuss, it is a classic Beginner book. Philip Dey Eastman was an American screenwriter, children’s author and illustrator. He was a protege of Theodore Giesel (Dr. Seuss) and many of his books were published under the Dr. Seuss brand of books.

Sam, the owl meets Gus, the Firefly near the lake when he is searching for a playmate. The moon is up and bright in the sky and the rest of the story unfolds in the dark night for Sam can stay up only in the nights and Gus can show off his light only when the sun is down.

Gus can make lines with his light as he flies about. Like any good friend, Sam teaches him what more he can do with his abilities. Gus learns to make words that illuminate in the dark. He loves his powers so much that he gets into playing tricks on things and people.


The book is in the series of Beginners, aimed at children who are just starting to read. The words are simple, yet fun. The story draws the children in and the drawings by the author make sure they stay and read to the end.

The story brings up the themes of friendship and responsibility and learning to do the right thing.

What works well

The pictures are the best part of any book that is aimed at children. P.D. Eastman was a noted illustrator and had worked as an animator for Disney cartoons. The style of the illustrations in the book is uncluttered and the simple drawings spark interest.

There is no overly moralistic theme in the story and that is a relief. It has a great story, strong characters and teaches children subtly as it tells an interesting story.

The book does not cater to any stereotype which makes it appropriate for children. Having only animals as its characters contributes to this fact, of course.

While the language is not strictly rhyming, a large part of the text can be read in a cadence which makes it attractive to children. There is plenty of word repetition that helps capture interest for the young readers.


A delightful book for children beginning to read. It would open their minds to the wonder of possibility and to joy.

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