Sam, Bangs & Moonshine

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Sam, Bangs & Moonshine
Cm sam bangs moonshine.jpg
Sam, Bangs and Moonshine
AuthorEvaline Ness
IllustratorEvaline Ness
CountryUnited States
GenreChildren's picture book
Publication date

Sam, Bangs & Moonshine is a popular 1966 children's book written and illustrated by Evaline Ness. It won the 1967 Caldecott Medal for its illustrations. [1]


Samantha (usually called Sam) is a motherless child of a fisherman. To keep herself busy, she pretends that her mother is a mermaid and that Bangs, her cat, can talk to her. Sam also claims to have a pet kangaroo. She prefers her fantasies to reality but her father calls her tales "moonshine" and warns Sam that moonshine will one day lead her into great trouble.

Little neighbor Thomas eagerly believes every word Sam says. One day Sam tells the pleading boy of a not-too-distant cove where he can find her mermaid mother. Bangs follows Thomas on a journey to the cove; but, unfortunately, they are caught up in a seastorm and lost. At home, Sam becomes very frightened when Thomas and the cat don't return, and she tearfully asks her father for help. Luckily, Thomas is found alive (Bangs is later found safe as well), but the boy is now ill. Sam finally understands the importance of telling people about things that are real, as opposed to things that are moonshine.

Sam apologizes to the sick little boy (who, the readers can safely presume, will make a complete recovery), and cheers Thomas up by showing him something that is both real and fantastical.


  1. ^ American Library Association: Caldecott Medal Winners, 1938 - Present. URL accessed 27 May 2009.
Preceded by
Always Room for One More
Caldecott Medal recipient
Succeeded by
Drummer Hoff