Great Illustrated Books


By Brian Floca

Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books, 2007
Pages : 48
Suggested Ages: 2-7
ISBN: 9781416924364

"Here is a ship that holds her place." So begins the simple, lighthearted, and poetic text that describes the role of the U. S. lightship Ambrose, a ship that stayed anchored close to shore in all weather and acted as a floating lighthouse to other passing vessels. Cheerful and appealing ink and watercolor illustrations highlight the work of the captain and his crew, including helmsman, oiler, engineer, deckhand, fireman, radioman, messman, cook, and an inquisitive orange cat as they work, sleep, and keep the ship in shape. We look in on the kitchen, the engine room, and even the head (the bathroom), and, most important, to the powerful light high up on the mast. "And when the fog comes creeping in, the crew knows what to do. They sound the horn so loud the whole ship shakes." "BEEOOH," blares the horn, and we see crew members covering their ears and the cat leaping up in alarm. When they shine that bright light, it marks the way so other ships see it and sail home safe.

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If you love this book, then try:

Crews, Donald. Sail Away. Greenwillow, 1995.

Floca, Brian. The Racecar Alphabet. Atheneum, 2003.

Gramatky, Hardie. Little Toot. Putnam, 1967.

McMullan, Kate, and Jim McMullan. I'm Mighty! HarperCollins, 2003.

Robbins, Ken. Bridges. Dial, 1991.

Sobel, June. B Is for Bulldozer: A Construction ABC. Harcourt, 2003.

Sturges, Philemon. Bridges Are to Cross. Putnam, 1998.

Swift, Hildegarde Hoyt. The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge. Harcourt, 2002.

Critics have said

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.
This fascinating, little-known slice of history should prove interesting to every child who loves big boats.
School Library Journal