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Lightship Hardcover – March 6, 2007

4.7 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Kindergarten-Grade 2—Lightships were anchored where lighthouses could not be built. They protected our ocean harbors as well as points along the Great Lakes. The last one was decommissioned in 1983, so this fascinating picture book is a piece of nautical history. Floca's watercolor drawings depict daily life aboard one of these vessels, cooking, sleeping, working, all the while rolling with the rhythm of the waves. There were many hazards involved. Big ships came too close, anchors lost their mooring, and weather caused many problems. But when the fog rolled in, the lightship sprang into action. Lights flashed and horns sounded, allowing ship traffic to make it "through fog and night, past rocks and shoals, past reefs and wrecks, past danger." The drawings are very detailed. Some pages are collages of small scenes. Many are full spreads. The sailors' facial expressions are amusing to watch, and the resident cat appears on almost every page. The front and back endpapers show a cutaway view of one of the vessels. This fascinating, little-known slice of history should prove interesting to every child who loves big boats.—Ieva Bates, Ann Arbor District Library, MI
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Lightships--floating lighthouses--were retired in 1983, but they live on in Floca's handsome picture book, which uses simple words and repeated phrases to emphasize the vessels' purpose and uniqueness as well as their day-to-day operation. "Here is a ship that holds her place," begins the text, which takes children on a sensory tour of the Ambrose, complete with the slapping of the waves on the hull, the rocking motion of the ship, the smell of the sea and of fuel, and--in one climactic blast that sends the ship's cat leaping straight up into the air--the sounding of the foghorn. Meanwhile, the ink-and-watercolor illustrations offer close-ups of the crew at work as well as wide, double-page scenes of passing ships (including the SS Ardizzone). Varied in composition and perspective, the art shows the little ship inside and out, in summer and winter, in calm and stormy weather. Some pictures include elements of humor, while other scenes are notable for their quiet beauty. Floca explains in an informative note that before it was possible to build platforms in deep water, lightships served as floating lighthouses, using powerful lights and blaring foghorns to signal other ships. From the endpapers, showing a cutaway view of the ship, to the final phrase, "the lightship holds her place," this handsome book respects both its subject and its audience. Carolyn Phelan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 600L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books (March 6, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416924361
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416924364
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 0.5 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #79,269 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Brian Floca's picture books include "Locomotive," winner of the 2014 Caldecott Medal, a Robert F. Sibert Honor Book, and a New York Times 10 Best Illustrated Books of 2013 selection; "Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11," also a Sibert Honor Book and New York Times Best Illustrated Book; "Lightship," a Sibert Honor Book; and "The Racecar Alphabet" and "Five Trucks." Brian is also the illustrator of Avi's popular Poppy Stories, Kate Messner's three Marty McGuire novels, Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan's "Ballet for Martha: Making Appalachian Spring" -- a Sibert Honor Book and winner of the Orbis Pictus Award -- and Lynne Cox's just published "Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas." You can visit him online at BrianFloca.com.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
We bought this book as soon as it was available because Brian Floca's book, "Racecar Alphabet" was our favourite. Now, with "Lightship" we have two favourites at bedtime.

I can't recommend this book highly enough. The illustrations are lovely and fun. The story is educational and interesting, but to me, "Lightship" is the story of steadfastness. Not all jobs are glamorous, or flashy but that doesn't mean they aren't important. In fact, they may be the most important.

I love this book and I can't wait for Brian's next.

Buy "Lightship", and while you are at it buy "Racecar Alphabet", they are sure to become family favourites!
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Format: Hardcover
Brian Floca's LIGHTSHIP reads with the drama and action of fiction but is actually a nonfiction account of a 'lightship, which once anchored across America, going where lighthouses couldn't be built to help guide ships to safe waters. Descriptions of the lightship's construction, crew and purposes are accented by excellent drawings throughout to provide young leisure readers with a special interest survey perfect for any who love boats.
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Format: Hardcover
It seems like every year our boys find a new Brian Floca title to call their favorite book. First it was "Five Trucks", then "Racecar Alphabet" enjoyed a long stay at number one. Now with "Lightship", my boys spend their time split between devouring the elegant illustrations which draw them into the life of the crewmen (and their cat!) and looking out onto our little view of the ocean, trying to find their own Lightship. Thank you, Brian, for sparking their imaginations.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My almost-four-year-old LOVES this book, and so do I. Brian Floca excels at picking out interesting bits of history that we don't already know and turning them into compelling and beautiful books that can be consumed by children and adults alike. l learned a lot from this one, including from the end notes. To make reading this more interactive with your child, go to your favorite maps app--be sure to use 3D mode--and zoom in on the South Street Seaport museum in NYC where the actual ship is docked! Also, you can zoom in on the Queen Mary in Long Beach, which also makes a very obvious appearance in the book. Both ships are obviously identifiable to the illustrations in the book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
We live in Baltimore and walk past a docked lightship every weekend on our walks. This beautifully illustrated book has taught us about the inner workings of the lightship.
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By Beth A on January 17, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Thank you Brian Floca for writing an excellent children's book on a little known subject of a by-gone era! My son and my husband love this book. For the past few years we had been picking up this book from the library but decided to suprise our son this year for Christmas! He is 6 and was very excited to sit down with dad and re-read the book. I would recommend this to anyone who loves boats, lighthouses, history or just wants to read an excellent children's story.
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By gigiocat on January 20, 2016
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have bought all the Brian Floca books and read them to my son regularly. Light ship follows in the tradition of Locomotive and Moonshot telling the story of the ship and those who work on it. As always the illustrations are superb. I wish though the story was longer with more text and description of how things work. You can see the actual lightship docked at Pier 25 in NYC.
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Format: Hardcover
This is simply a great kid's book. It's well-written, educational, and the illustrations are thoughtfully created and humorous. Any kid with an interest in maritime topics would do well to have this book in their collection. Thank you, Brian, for doing such a good job.
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