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The Top Job

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Every kid loves to go with his or her parents to work. But how cool it would be if your dad was responsible for changing the lightbulbs at the top of the Empire State Building! Readers will be amazed by the details this book provides about one of the most recognizable buildings in the world and will relate to one girl's pride when she brags to her classmates about her dad's very high position.

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Overview

Every kid loves to go with his or her parents to work. But how cool it would be if your dad was responsible for changing the lightbulbs at the top of the Empire State Building! Readers will be amazed by the details this book provides about one of the most recognizable buildings in the world and will relate to one girl's pride when she brags to her classmates about her dad's very high position.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

It looks like the nameless narrator will have to take a backseat to the other kids on Career Day; their parents are astronomers, NASCAR drivers and jewelers, while her dad changes lightbulbs. But as the girl launches into her spiel, a different sort of lightbulb goes off as it dawns on the class that her father's job is pretty special after all: he's in charge of the beacon atop the antenna of the Empire State Building. Kimmel's (Lily B. on the Brink of Paris) speaks with authority because, as she explains, she actually accompanied Dad on his task the previous weekend. Kimmel has amassed a host of details, which she skillfully spins for her audience. The bulb is "about the size of our beagle's head but 620 watts brighter" and Dad better not drop it, because when he's at the very top, it's "one thousand four hundred fifty-three feet and eight and nine-sixteenths inches to the sidewalk." (The narrator brings a catcher's glove to the hatch below the antennae, just in case.) Neubecker equally deftly builds the story's visual momentum, alternating spot illustrations with full-page pictures (a vertiginous, bird's-eye view shows Dad at work); in a vertical spread, the re-lit landmark virtually glows. As he proved in Wow! City!, Neubecker's signature style can conjure up metropolitan magic; his ink outlines and punchy colors instantly convey why New York is a helluva town. Ages 4-up. (July)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Children's Literature
On Career Day at Mrs. Feeny’s class, kids stand up to tell about their parents’ cool careers--UFO hunter, jeweler, race car driver. When it is her turn, the vivacious longhaired narrator steps up to say that her dad changes light bulbs. Boooooooring! laughs a classmate, as Mrs. Feeny tries to move on to spelling. The girl, however, keeps on talking, telling how she travels with her dad to a tall building, helps him change into his gear, rides the elevator with him 102 stories. When they get there, it is just the beginning! Her father climbs to the outside of the building, starts up a special ladder, and then climbs the huge antenna itself. At the very top, with clouds swirling under him and people waving from the observation platform, her Dad changes the 620-watt light bulb. Class and teacher are spellbound. Kids will be, too, especially when the page turns to a vertical double-page spread of the Empire State Building at night with the light bulb glowing against a panorama of tall buildings studded with lights. There is even another New York surprise at the end. With its fascinating background (there really is a light bulb-changer) and Neubecker’s vivid illustrations in brilliant color outlined in thick black lines, this is an endearing story of father and daughter, as well as a most exciting addition to any New York collection. Try this title with Deborah Hopkinson and James E. Ransome’s picture book, Sky Boys (Schwartz & Wade, 2006), about the construction of the Empire State Building. Reviewer: Barbara L. Talcroft
School Library Journal

Gr 1-4
On career day, several children tell exciting, glamorous stories about their parents' jobs as racecar driver, jeweler, and UFO hunter. Then, the book's narrator announces that her dad changes lightbulbs. When a boy laughs at this seemingly boring career and the teacher attempts to move on to a different subject, the girl continues to speak. She explains that she recently accompanied her father on a bus, a train, and a subway when he changed the bulb at the top of the Empire State Building. The harrowing details of this adventure amaze her teacher and classmates as the child proves that initial assumptions can be very wrong. While the story is positive in theme, its telling leaves something to be desired. The young narrator provides excessively detailed, sophisticated data, and her voice ranges from childish to overly technical. Neubecker's clear, bright illustrations effectively convey action and emotion, but it's unlikely that children will sit through the narrator's somewhat lengthy explanations.
—Amanda MossCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
Emma's father searches for UFOs; Elizabeth's mother's a jeweler; Aidan's mother's a NASCAR driver-but this story's unnamed protagonist's father changes light bulbs. Huh? Calmly ignoring her teacher's attempt to turn to Spelling Is Spectacular after the Career Day presentations, she goes on to describe the job she helped him with just last weekend: He got his light-bulb changing gear (which includes climbing harness), took her up to the 102nd floor, went out the hatch and up the antenna. . . . Kimmel includes exactly the right factoids to keep young readers glued to the account, such as the necessity of turning off all the TV and radio stations that broadcast via the Empire State Building while its light bulb is being changed, and the exact distance (1,453 feet and 8 9/16 inches) from the tippy-top to the ground. Neubecker's illustrations, while rather stiff in the classroom, come to life in the depiction of the incredible climb, as he peppers his backgrounds with flying saucers and imagines King Kong reading by the light of the newly changed bulb. Fizzy, fascinating and eminently kid-friendly. (Picture book. 5-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780142414248
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/28/2009
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 3 - 5 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.80 (w) x 10.80 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Elizabeth Cody Kimmel lives in New York's Hudson Valley.

Robert Neubecker lives in Park City, Utah.

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