Sunday, November 18, 2007

Sam, Bangs & Moonshine

Sam, Bangs & Moonshine
written and illustrated by Evaline Ness/ published 1966 by Henry Holt and Company


OK, come on, before this woman wrote this book, she was married to THE Eliot Ness. How awesome is that? That said, this is a powerful story, touching on the overwhelming nature of the imagination. The story of a fisherman's daughter, it is the often sad tale of giving up childish things for the real world. It's a little bit of a bubble-popper for those who want to live in the world of fantasy forever, but in this case, growing up means letting go of some not so happy things.

Sam said her mother was a mermaid,
when everyone knew she was dead.
Sam said she had a fierce lion at home, and a baby kangaroo.
(Actually what she really had was a old wise cat called Bangs.)


Beautifully written with muted illustrations, it is so infused with melancholy and mystery that it almost makes you feel five again. That feeling of exhilarating escape that the imagination can bring even in the face of great sadness. We've all been there before, pretending so we do not have to see. If you can't relate to this tale, then you must be dead.

Also by:
Some of the Days of Everett Anderson
Fierce the Lion

2 comments:

Todd said...

I love your blog - thank you for the time you spend on it- especially the carefully chosen and cropped samples from the illustrations.
Do you find your son is just as happy to read books with a girl as the main character as those with a boy as the main character? My godson is only twenty months old right now and I'm wondering what the future will hold.

scribbler said...

At three, the only thing my son is concerned with is whether or not an animal appears anywhere in the book! The only books he shuns as girl books are ones that have a Disney princess on them, and that's only because I tell him they are lame. :)

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