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.
PreS-Gr 2-In places where lighthouses could not be built, lightships once served as floating lighthouses in the oceans, Great Lakes, and across America. Brian Floca became fascinated with these patient guardians of the waters when he visited the South Street Seaport Museum in New York, and he wrote of one such ship in this picture book (Atheneum, 2007). Floca introduces the video with a live-action film of the Ambrose lightship, a wordless visual tour which highlights every nook and cranny of the ship which for many years served the captains of New York Harbor. From the pilot room, he offers an explanation of the lightship's purpose, and prepares students for the book they are about to enjoy, prompting them to think about the day-to-day life of the crew. The patient, casual pace of the book and the video mimics the tempo of life aboard the Ambrose. This ship doesn't carry cargo or sail from port to port; it holds its place in the water, patiently waiting through winter and summer, calm waters and rough. The crew and its cat pass the days performing mundane jobs, waiting and preparing. The monotony could become trying, but the crew holds the ship "to its one sure spot." Then, when fog and bad weather roll in, the steadfast Ambrose comes alive, blasting a warning to advancing ships with lights and horn, keeping them safe from rocks, reefs, and sunken ships. The teacher's guide offers additional explanations and student activities. Children will appreciate this tribute to a vanishing beacon of the seas and its dedicated crew.-MaryAnn Karre, Horace Mann Elementary School, Binghamton, NY Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.