lightship

Lightship

By: Brian Floca, Brian Floca

LKR 937
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Hardcover : 48 pages
Publisher : Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing (March 2007)
ISBN - 10 : 1416924361
ISBN - 13 : 9781416924364
Product Dimensions : 9.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)
Subjects : Children - Transportation

About the author :

Brian Floca is the award-winning author and illustrator of Lightship, a Robert F. Sibert Honor Book; The Racecar Alphabet, called "astonishing" in a starred review from Kirkus Reviews; and Five Trucks. He is the illustrator of The Hinky-Pink, by Megan McDonald; Uncles and Antlers by Lisa Wheeler; and Poppy, by Avi. His forthcoming Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 stems from long-standing interest in the space program and is the result of extensive research, including trips to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum and the Johnson Space Center.


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!

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)

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