Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Sam and the Firefly” as Want to Read:
Sam and the Firefly
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Sam and the Firefly

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  4,873 Ratings  ·  139 Reviews
Sam the Owl and Gus the Firefly literally light up the sky in this classic Beginner Book edited by Dr. Seuss. In Sam and the Firefly, P. D. Eastman (author of Are You My Mother? and Go, Dog. Go!) introduces us to the dynamic duo of Sam and Gus, who soar through the air writing words in the night sky. But when Gus’s words end up causing confusion and chaos for the people on ...more
Hardcover, Beginner Books, 62 pages
Published September 12th 1958 by Random House (first published 1958)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Sam and the Firefly, please sign up.

Recent Questions

This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Sep 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

As many know, there are a lot of English children's books that I've missed out on. Even the famous ones. It is therefore no surprise that I had never heard of this one. I read about it (actually, only saw the cover) in the interview David gave on Mischenko's blog:

The owl on the cover was the selling point for me, but I must say that the story in general is very sweet. Now, it should be pointed out that this book is for really little children that
May 19, 2011 rated it liked it

How cute is Sam!? I love the cover ;-) Sam is the adorable owl who longs for a friend when he awakens at night and all the other farm and woodland animals are asleep. Lonely Sam finally finds a firefly and they strike up a friendship. The best fun is that Sam knows how to write words and he flies around forming letters, with the firefly following him, and the firefly's glow makes the words glow in the night sky. How neat! Up to this point, I like the story very much. The illustrations a
Mar 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
When I was four years old I wanted to read this book but could not read.
That spring my mother asked, "Want to take tennis lessons?" (We had a tennis court next door)
My answer was, " No. I want to learn to read."
My mother's dream of tennis stardom died that day. Fortunately for me my mother is the unselfish kind and sent me to a beginner's summer reading program and by the end of it I read my first book on my own (this one).
I know that people do not care about this story but I wanted to carve my
Jared Burton
May 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: english-353
Eastman, P.D. Sam and the Firefly. New York: Random House Books for Young Readers, 1958.
Genre - Fiction - Animals
This book is about an owl who wakes up at night and has no one to play with. The owl then sees a bunch of glowing lights and comes to find his new friend Gus the firefly. The Owl has a great idea to spell out their names in the sky using Gus's tail. After they spell out their first few words Gus finds out how much fun it is to spell words and begins to cause mischief by telling cars
Sadia Mansoor
Feb 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children
It takes two to have fun. ^_^

Its a different & new story for me :)
Jun 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed reading this book to my children and I also remember it from my childhood which is always fun. The book was written in 1958 as an easy reader. It is a bit advanced as an easy reader with a lot of words on each page though. The story line was perfectly in-line with my 5-year-old son's interests. He is immensely interested in tricks. He was fascinated by the idea of a day set aside for playing pranks when April 1st came around this year and declared that every day should be "trickster da ...more
Alicia Singleton
This book is about an owl named Sam who meets a firefly named Gus. Now Gus isn’t just a firefly; he is a firefly who has a special talent of writing words with his light. Gus gets into some trouble when he starts to trick everyone with his words and begins making chaos in the nightlife. Gus gets trapped in a jar and Sam helps him escape and helps Gus realize he is wrong for the things he is doing. Gus does something to help right his wrongs. In the end, Gus begins using his talent for good rathe ...more
Muse Here
Jun 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids
This was one of those books I adored as a child. I read it my kiddos when they were quite young, it must have been lost in the divorce. We haven't read it for a while, but it's a great read, especially for youngsters. Very cute and enjoyable.
Feb 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The perfect beginning reader: my son knew many of the words in this book from his "sight words" at preschool, and he could sound out some others. BUT, more importantly, it is a great story, interesting and funny, and he cared about what happens.
Jan 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: younger-kids
I loved this book when I was a kid!
Janae' Hosley
Sep 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: abc-beginning
The flip side of the theme of freedom of speech is the theme of listening to others, and this is a topic that Sam and the Firefly addresses in a more indirect way. In the story, the people in the town seem to blindly follow whatever Gus writes in the sky. It certainly seems like there are times when listening to Gus is a bad idea, but listening to Gus can also be a good idea, like when he tells the train conductors to stop the train. Should the people have listened to Gus’ words? When should you ...more
Tyler Jones
Jan 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-readers
Sam (owl) teaches Gus (firefly) a neat trick, but Gus cannot resist creating mayhem with his new found power. When Gus's hi-jinx land him in hot water, Sam comes to the rescue and a valuable lesson is learned. Use your powers for good, not evil! Nice illustrations and simple sentence structures for the child learning to read.
Oct 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Read this book when I was small, and wanted to get it for my child.

The colours are so very vibrant, and the book is so vivid.

It is a tad too long (probably shouldn't begrudge it for a 6 month old's attention span) but overall this book holds up fairly well.

Good message to your kids- Don't be a $#!t disturber :)
Nov 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
11/2/17 Read with Naomi.
Dec 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Now that I am teaching again, I am revisiting some of my childhood literature. I had completely forgotten about this one. I have numerous P.D. Eastman favorites.
The Kossack Academy
Jan 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
One of our all-time favorites
Drew Graham
Jul 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids
Sam the owl and Gus the firefly find an illuminating way to amuse themselves on a dark night. But will they be able to fix the problems Gus's out-of-control antics cause?

I was SO sleepy when we read this, but I remember wondering why it wasn't more familiar to me. It's one of those books that's been around forever and everyone just kind of knows, isn't it? Anyway, it was fun and funny and had a pretty good little build to the story, and it's a different take on a nighttime setting. I'd gladly re
Alexandra Chauran
Mar 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Disturbing content. I vaguely remember this story from when I was a kid. My kids love it, and the simple words are easy enough for my six year old to read. Five stars for the phrase, "Yow wow!"
Mar 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Sam and the Firefly by P. D. Eastman is a picture book, most likely intended for children ages 4-6.

Summary: Sam (an owl) teaches Gus (a firefly) to write words with his light, which Gus then uses to play mean jokes and cause car accidents. It is only after Gus is caught by an angry hot dog vendor and has to stop a train crash that he learns he must be careful with his gift.

Evaluation: I rated this book three stars because while the pacing of the story could be improved, it is overall very entert
David Sarkies
Aug 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens
The Power of Language
3 August 2013

The text in this book is a little more complicated that the other book that I read but that is probably because the previous book was teaching children prepositions where as this book has a bit of a moral undertone. It seems that by the time children get to this level of reading it is more about teaching morality as opposed to simply teaching a child how to read.

I guess in one aspect the book is teaching us that playing dirty tricks on people is not conducive
Katie McCulloch
Mar 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Sam And The Firefly, by P.D Eastman is about an owl named Sam and a firefly named Gus. They meet each other and immediately become friends. Together, they go flying around and Gus starts spelling things out in the air with his light while Sam follows. Gus gets a bit carried away and starts messing with people and things with his light. For example, he writes car directions at an intersection that causes them to crash into each other. He writes above a movie theater “Come in! Free show”, so peopl ...more
Dec 02, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: morals, craft
Sam the owl is lonely being awake at night, and is looking for something to do. He runs into a firefly named Gus, and they realize they can make words in the sky with the glow of his light. Unfortunately, Gus takes things a little too far. He starts to play jokes all over town: telling plains to fly the wrong way, free movies night, and COLD hotdogs. Sam could see that his new friend is out of control and tries to stop Gus, but it’s too late. The man at the hotdog stand captures Gus and puts him ...more
May 28, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with younger children
Shelves: childrens, aviation, 2012
When I saw the cover of this book, I just had to borrow it from our local library. The adorable owl and humorous firefly were enchanting. Having read Are You My Mother? and other books by P.D. Eastman over and over again with our girls, I worried that the book would be a bit too young for our girls.

The story was a bit repetitive and I am not sure how much our girls enjoyed it, but we liked the muted nighttime illustrations and thought the silly firefly was a goof. It was a bit alarming that the
Aug 29, 2015 rated it did not like it
The book looks cute enough. It has a picture of "The Cat in the Hat" on the cover, which should guarantee some level of quality. Sadly, this book strained my patience past the breaking point. It is heading to the thrift store immediately. Tell me, O Reader-should I forebear so much as to accept the premise that an owl and firefly might communicate in a common language, and further that this firefly's bioluminescence has the power to leave visible trails of light stationary for minutes in the air ...more
Andrew Stockle
Sam and the Firefly is about an owl named Sam and his playmate/friends Gus the firefly. Gus and Sam play a word game during the night. The game is fun at first but soon gets out of control as Gus begins to cause havoc all over town. Furthermore, he seems to find this enjoyable and doesn't see anything wrong with being mean and causing problems for the town. Eventually Gus examines his actions and figures out that he was wrong. He determines that his words really can hurt people and makes amends ...more
Samantha Penrose
Jul 25, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: kids-books
What a strange story.
I like the beginning. Sam the owl is looking for someone to play with during a lonely night. He meets Gus the firefly, and teaches Gus to write in the sky with his firefly light. The story then takes a strange turn as Gus the firefly becomes rather mischievous with his new sky-writing talent. Gus flies all over the city causing trouble, and Sam chases him around trying to talk some sense into him.
An angry victim of Gus's practical jokes captures him in a jar, and heads out
Rocheal Hoffman
Jan 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
How cute is this book?! This is great for beginning readers, and frankly an elementary classroom as a read-aloud. It would be a great lead into a lesson on character development. The illustrations in this book include cute pictures as well as the words that are in the text as you read. This provides a great opportunity for the youngest readers to engage and explore text!
Science- Good for GPS: SKE1. Students will describe time patterns (such as day to night and night to day) and objects (such as
May 10, 2009 rated it it was ok
After all these years, there remains a certain special something about the literary works of P.D. Eastman, and nowhere are these intangibles more evident than in "Sam and the Firefly".
The brilliant light trails of Gus the firefly long ago indelibly burned their way into the lining of my memories, as I'm sure they have for most people to have read this book. Surely there are several fantasy elements to the story that might seem to stretch belief, but I think that this is a book that must simply
My four-year-old saw this on the shelf at the library and said "Ooh, Dr. Seuss!" and with that, he tossed it into our pile to take home. I pointed out that it's not actually Dr. Seuss but P.D. Eastman, but he wanted it anyway. I haven't read it with him yet, but overheard my husband reading it with him and his sister tonight. The two-year-old was completely silent and not disruptive while he was reading, which is unusual for her when she's listening to stories in her brother's room, so I'm guess ...more
Jul 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book is one of my favorite books of all time, so much that I actually got the cover tattooed on my back and named my ferret after the firefly.
As a child I liked seeing Gus, the firefly, writing words in the sky and the mischief that it caused. As a young adult, I appreciated the message of right and wrong the story conveyed. Today I love that it can still make me smile despite having first read it over 30 years ago.
In my opinion this should be one of those must have books that every child
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Snow
  • Robert the Rose Horse
  • The Digging-est Dog
  • Stop that Ball!
  • Old Hat, New Hat
  • Busy, Busy Town
  • It's Not Easy Being a Bunny
  • Please Try to Remember the First of Octember!
  • I Want to Be Somebody New!
  • Hooper Humperdink...? Not Him!
  • Harry and the Lady Next Door
Philip Dey "Phil" Eastman was an American screenwriter, children's author, and illustrator. As an author, he is known primarily as P. D. Eastman. A protégé of Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss), Eastman wrote many books for children, in his own distinct style under the Dr. Seuss brand of Random House, many of which were in the Beginner Books series.

From 1936 to 1941, Eastman worked at the story departmen
More about P.D. Eastman...

Fiction Deals

  • War Brides
    $3.99 $2
  • Bluebeard
    $8.99 $1.99
  • The Madonnas of Leningrad
    $10.74 $2.99
  • Orphan Train Girl
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Want Not
    $14.95 $2.99
  • Finding Rebecca
    $5.49 $1.99
  • The Twelve-Mile Straight
    $14.99 $2.99
  • The Long Way Home
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Cafe by the Sea
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Everybody's Son
    $12.99 $1.99
  • The Restaurant Critic's Wife
    $3.99 $2
  • The Word Game
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Ahab's Wife, or The Star-Gazer
    $10.74 $1.99
  • Cats Are Weird: And More Observations
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Wake Up
    $4.99 $2
  • The Way to London: A Novel of World War II
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Abby's Journey
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Ask the Dust
    $8.24 $1.99
  • Kings of Broken Things
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Collected Stories of Stefan Zweig
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Saving Abby
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Vanessa and Her Sister
    $13.99 $2.99
  • The King's Mistress
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Midnight Sun (The Northern Lights Series, No 3)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Cement Garden (Ian McEwan Series Book 2)
    $8.99 $2.99
  • The Book of Love: Poems of Ecstasy and Longing
    $8.24 $1.99
  • Under the Wide and Starry Sky
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Illuminations: A Novel of Hildegard von Bingen
    $14.95 $1.99
  • The Cove
    $7.49 $1.99
  • The Secret Healer (The Secret Healer #1)
    $3.49 $0.99
  • Fat Chance
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Jailbird
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Mrs. Saint and the Defectives
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Fire by Night
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Bagombo Snuff Box
    $8.99 $1.99
  • The High Mountains of Portugal
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Cat's Pajamas: Stories
    $7.99 $1.99
  • The Thistle and the Rose (Tudor Saga, #8)
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Burgess Boys
    $12.99 $1.99
  • News of the World
    $11.49 $2.99
  • The Fireman
    $11.99 $2.99
  • The Atomic City Girls
    $10.99 $2.99
  • Skinny Legs and All
    $14.99 $1.99
  • The Unkillable Kitty O'Kane
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Paris Wife
    $11.99 $2.99
  • If I Was Your Girl
    $9.99 $2.99