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Lightship
  • Alternative view 1 of Lightship
  • Alternative view 2 of Lightship
     

Lightship

by Brian Floca
 

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You may never have
heard of a lightship.

Once, lightships
anchored on waters
across America,
on the oceans
and in the Great Lakes,
floating where lighthouses
could not be built.
Smaller than most ships,
but more steadfast, too,
they held their spots,
through calm and storm,
to guide sailors
toward safe waters.

Overview

You may never have
heard of a lightship.

Once, lightships
anchored on waters
across America,
on the oceans
and in the Great Lakes,
floating where lighthouses
could not be built.
Smaller than most ships,
but more steadfast, too,
they held their spots,
through calm and storm,
to guide sailors
toward safe waters.

In these pages
one lightship
and her crew (and cat)
again hold their place.
The crew goes
again from bow to stern,
from keel to mast,
to run their engines,
shine their lights,
and sound their horns.

They run the small ship
that guides the large ships.
They are the crew (and cat)
that work to make the ocean safe,
that hold their place,
so other ships can sail.

Come aboard!

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

With straightforward, compelling prose and crisply detailed narrative ink drawings, Floca (The Racecar Alphabet) creates an engrossing portrayal of a now-vanished nautical practice (according to a closing author's note). "Here is a ship that holds her place," he begins, with a phrase that becomes the basis of an improvised refrain (e.g., "The lightship holds her one sure spot"). Thus he introduces the fictional lightship Ambroseand her nine-man crew. Floca follows the men and their marmalade cat mascot during the mundane tasks and sometimes-dramatic occurrences of daily life (a too-close-for-comfort encounter with a big tanker elicits a salty "#@*%&!" from the crew). In the final pages, a fog rolls in (as the cat creeps across the deck, for Carl Sandburg's fans), allowing the Ambroseto show off her raison d'être. She flashes her beacon and sounds her horn (with a mighty "beeooh," at which the feline visibly shakes) to "mark the way" for other ships "past rocks and shoals,/ past reefs and wrecks,/ past danger." Youngsters who are mesmerized by "how things work" books will want to add this one to their shelves, but even landlubbers may well embrace this tribute to steadfast duty on the high seas. Ages 4-7. (Mar.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Children's Literature - Barbara L. Talcroft
This is a truly beautiful picture book about a subject most young readers may never have encountered. Author-illustrator Floca, in brisk but poetic words and stunning watercolors that are both witty and informative, tells the story of the red-hulled Ambrose Light. Young adventurers are sure to be drawn into the life of the crew and its cat, as the ship weathers fog, storms, and close encounters with other vessels, while all the time she "holds her one sure spot." From the shining lights high on the masts to the domain of the engineer deep in the hull, Floca's research lets readers explore the equipment of a lightship and the perils of the sea; his fluent writing brings alive a sense of the crew and their devotion to their ship, often with delightful touches of humor. Though each picture deserves attention, especially striking are the ones of the scarlet hull in a snowstorm (through portholes, cat and cook are seen snug below) and of the huge black shape of the S.S. Ardizzone (a tribute to the English illustrator) looming over the Ambrose as a crewman shouts, "#@*%&!" from beneath and a sailor on the giant ship answers sheepishly, "Sorry!" The introductory flap proclaims, "They are the crew (and cat) / that work to make the ocean safe, / that hold their place, / so other ships can sail. / Come aboard!" For young sailors (and adults) who want to know more, Floca's cutaway view and "Author's Note" will prove fascinating, too.
Kirkus Reviews
Floca creates both suspense and poetry in this tribute to the anchored lightships that once warned ships away from hazards on the North American coast. Beginning with, "Here is a ship that holds her place," he introduces viewers to a crew of nine, plus a cat, then shows that crew performing routine tasks both topside and down below as they wait, but for what? When the weather worsens, that question is answered; on come the bright lamp and the deafening foghorn: "Then other ships sail safely, / because the lightship marks the way / through fog and night, / past rocks and shoals, / past reefs and wrecks, / past danger." Using the Ambrose, a New York museum ship, as his model, the author presents an array of cutaways, views from above, glimpses of the engine room, john and kitchen, as well as showing the steadfast vessel floating on glassy seas and tossed by waves. Together, the pictures and the brief, measured text lend these utilitarian, no-longer-active vessels a heroic aspect that will resonate with all young fans of ships and the sea. (afterword) (Picture book/nonfiction. 4-7)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781416924364
Publisher:
Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books
Publication date:
03/06/2007
Pages:
48
Sales rank:
213,511
Product dimensions:
9.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.50(d)
Lexile:
AD600L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 7 Years

Meet the Author

Brian Floca is the author and illustrator of Locomotive, winner of the 2013 Caldecott Medal; Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11, a Robert F. Sibert Honor Book and a New York Times Best Illustrated Book; Lightship, also a Sibert Honor Book; and Racecar Alphabet, an ALA Notable Children’s Book. He has illustrated Avi’s Poppy Stories, Kate Messner’s Marty McGuire novels, and Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan’s Ballet for Martha: Making Appalachian Spring, a Sibert Honor Book and winner of the Orbis Pictus Award. You can visit him online at BrianFloca.com.

Brian Floca is the author and illustrator of Locomotive, winner of the 2013 Caldecott Medal; Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11, a Robert F. Sibert Honor Book and a New York Times Best Illustrated Book; Lightship, also a Sibert Honor Book; and Racecar Alphabet, an ALA Notable Children’s Book. He has illustrated Avi’s Poppy Stories, Kate Messner’s Marty McGuire novels, and Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan’s Ballet for Martha: Making Appalachian Spring, a Sibert Honor Book and winner of the Orbis Pictus Award. You can visit him online at BrianFloca.com.

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