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3.95  ·  Rating Details ·  330 Ratings  ·  80 Reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published March 6th 2007 by Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books
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(NS) - Heather Hayman
This powerful story, written by Brian Floca, is an actual nonfiction account of a lightship, which was once anchored across America. It travelled to places where lighthouses were impossible to be built in order to guide ships into safer water. The illustrations literally make you feel as though you are one of the crewmen, where life is depicted aboard one of these vessels. Whether they are cooking, sleeping or working, you become a part of their daily operation. This book also brings to life the ...more
Brenda Engelhardt
Feb 26, 2013 Brenda Engelhardt rated it it was amazing
A Lightship was used to mark navigational where it wasn't possible to build a lighthouse. They no longer exist.
This book is well illustrated with friendly colors. The text was simple but interesting. Also, the author's note at the beginning and end inform the reader (parent or teacher) so that the child can learn even more background about these historic ships. My husband loved the book and we both wished we had owned it when our kids were little.
Even with the simplicity of the book - this mig
Feb 02, 2015 Heather rated it really liked it
I was intrigued by Brian Floca's Lightship because they are mentioned several times in Arthur Ransome's Peter Duck which is part of the Swallows and Amazons series. I didn't have a good understanding of what they do until I read Floca's book. And he even slips in some tribute to Edward Ardizzone to the delight of observant fans. He is one of my new favorite authors. Check out his other books like Locomotive and Moonshot.
Jan 04, 2016 Jim rated it really liked it
Terrific book about a vessel i'd not heard of - lightships. Floating lighthouses required to wait in place no matter the weather. Floca's writing builds suspense.

Why do they wait?
Title: Lightship
Author: Brian Floca
Genre: Sibert Medal
Theme(s): Loyalty, companionship, teamwork
Opening line/sentence: “Here is a ship that holds her place.”

Brief Book Summary: Lightship is an informational book that takes readers on a journey. Ambrose is a ship that holds her place. She is a lightship that keeps the night sea lit up. The books is about the crew and the hardships that come and go when floating in the sea.

Professional Recommendation/Review #1:
The Bulletin of the Center for Chil
Mar 21, 2017 Lydiathekicker rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-fiction
Lighthouses and lightSHIPS. Who knew? The last lightship retired in 1983. Interesting read.
Rosemary Szczygiel
Mar 10, 2017 Rosemary Szczygiel rated it it was amazing
Pre-K - 3 Picture book. Why wouldn't I give this book 5 stars? Only technical correctness remains the one criticism to address, and I cannot address that. If the parts of the ship and the daily life of the crew is described correctly, that's great. Still, it's a great story of a great boat, with a great job (keeping others safe) and the illustrations are fantastic! Floca is a watercolor master.
Feb 09, 2014 Ekassel rated it really liked it
Shelves: 642-shelf
1. Genre and Age Level: This is a concept book about lightships. It could also be considered historical fiction, as lightships do not exist anymore. It should be used for upper elementary (2nd-4th), even though it is labeled as ages 4-7.

2. Summary: This book tells the story of lightships, explaining the job of these ships. The life of a sailor on these ships is explained and a tour of the ship is given through illustrations in the book.

3. Curriculum Connection: This book would be appropriate f
Janna Gifford
Oct 30, 2012 Janna Gifford rated it really liked it
Lightship by Brian Floca is a nonfiction book that won the 2008 The Tobert Sibert Award Book. This book is intended for the primary age level. The book is about a ship that would stay at one place to act as a lighthouse to guide ships. This book talks about the crew and their life aboard the ship. I would rate this book with four stars based on the illustrations and the theme. I think that this book is great for young children to get a sense of the ships history as well as there is a diagram of ...more
May 17, 2015 Rachel rated it it was amazing
The first thing you see when you open up the cover is an illustration naming the parts of a boat. A good start which will catch the attention of many a young boy. Floca phrases his story to benefit from the fact that most people don`t know what a lightship is. Why? is constantly in the back of our minds. First he goes about the ship showing what the crew is doing, every so often reminding us that the boat remains anchored to the same place no matter what. Only when the fog rolls in does the purp ...more
May 17, 2010 Carmine rated it it was amazing
There once were ships that did not travel to distant ports, that did not carry passengers or cargo, but gave their all to hold their place through fair weather and fowl to mark a sure spot for other ships to set course by. At one time lightships were anchored near harbors around the US in places where lighthouses couldn’t be built including locally off the mouth of the Columbia River and near Cape Flattery. Author/illustrator Brian Floca celebrates these hardworking vessels with his sparse text ...more
Feb 26, 2012 L12_sarah rated it liked it
Lightship is the story of lightships, which are ships that serve the purpose of lighthouses in locations where building a lighthouse is not feasible. The book describes what each member of a lightship does, what life aboard a lightship is like, and why lightships are so valuable. According to the author's note, the last lightship was retired in 1983, so these historical ships are no longer in use. However, Light Vessel 87 is one such lightship that is on display in New York city and on which t ...more
Hannah Rich
Apr 22, 2014 Hannah Rich rated it really liked it
This informational book provides the readers with simple facts about life on a lightship. Brian Floca not only states the information about this ship through text, but he also uses illustrations to relay the information. I love how beginning and end of the book illustrate a skeleton image of the ship and all of its compartments (which are also labeled). Floca states the individuals who work on the ship, some of the different rooms, what happens on the deck, etc. Furthermore, towards the beginnin ...more
Dec 16, 2009 Lynsey rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sibert-medal
3rd-6th grade
This book talks about the workers aboard the ship and how they keep it running. The share the importance of the ship and stress the most valuable part is that the ship keeps her perfect spot. The book is easy to read however, I think that most children aren’t going to be familiar with the vocabulary used for total understand. The illustrations are very sketch like to me and are again filled with what appears to be watercolor. Kids would enjoy this book because most children are fasc
Sarah Hutchinson
This informational book is great way to introduce the different kinds of ships used at sea. The book goes through the different types of jobs found on a lightship and in a creative way reveals the purpose for this type of ship. This book would be great for a unit on ships and going over the many different type of ships there are and their uses. The illustrations for this book are great for students to see what different types of things happen on ships and how many different types of rooms there ...more
Dannie Gonzalez
Feb 26, 2013 Dannie Gonzalez rated it it was amazing
This short picture book is fun to read and informational as well! Great read for students who are in their early reading years. Floca makes great use of his watercolor images and his double page spreads to emphasize the importance of lightships. In the story, the lightship is personified making the reader feel an attachment to the ship itself. Moreover, this short story is based on an actual lightship, the Ambrose, stationed across America, therefore the authenticity of the book is incredible. F ...more
A lightship was a floating lighthouse. They were used in the United States from the 1820s to 1983, lightships did not sail, but made it so others could sail safely. They were anchored wherever a lighthouse could not be built, but where there where "underwater hazards or shipping channels" needed to be shown. Life on a lightship was hard due to cramped quarters, long tours do duty, and rough weather. The weather could be especially tough, because when other ships would sail into port, the lightsh ...more
Dec 23, 2010 Courtney rated it liked it
I did not know what to expect going into this book. Nonfiction pertaining to the mechanical working of things has never really appealed to me, nor did I have any idea what the function of a lightship actually was. In reality, I was pleasantly surprised by Flocca's work. He turned the workings of the Lightship into a vibrant story, coupled with in-depth, eye-catching illustrations. The illustrations also contain many hidden surprises, which is sure to please the younger crowd. I could see this bo ...more
Dec 30, 2010 Kathryn rated it really liked it
Though I didn't love this quite as much as Floca's "Moonshot" this is a very nice tribute to the lightships that helped protect other ships at sea for many years before they were retired thanks to newer technology. I really didn't know anything about the lightships--basically, a ship very different than every other ship--it isn't meant to travel, it must stay fixed, a floating lighthouse. Floca does a wonderful job, in few words and personable illustrations, of conveying the special spirit of th ...more
Abby Crompton
Mar 04, 2014 Abby Crompton rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kid-s-lit
In Lightship the author informs readers of what exactly a lightship is. The author tells of information such as: all the people on the ship, what life is like on the ship and the weather conditions. The author emphasizes how other ships pass by the lightship but the lightship stays anchored in one place. In the end the author explains how when the fog rolls in the ship honks its horn and shines its light so other ships can it make it home safely. It is illustrated beautifully and a very fun book ...more
Eva Kelly
Jan 04, 2015 Eva Kelly rated it it was amazing
Wow, was THIS one ever interesting! It's about a boat that warns other boats, like a lighthouse. I just felt like I could look at the pictures forever! It really really made me want to go on a boat, especially when it's snowing. But then I like being ANYWHERE when it's snowing.
I liked the way the cat was in almost every picture. It was like playing I Spy trying to find him. And he was always in the picture.
This was a really good one and I had no idea that it would be. It just looked like it migh
Reet Champion
Jun 11, 2013 Reet Champion rated it really liked it
My opinion is one is never too old for picture books. So DON'T give me THAT look.

In all seriousness, this was a fun little book. A great way for young learners to become acquainted with lightships while having engaging illustrations to view, as well.

The reason four the four-star rating is due to a section where the lightship is nearly run down and a crewman is swearing, albeit the word(s) is replaced with symbols. This was unnecessary in my opinion and could have been left out altogehter
Did you know there used to be ships that acted as lighthouses in places where lighthouses couldn't be built? I had no idea! This book is very interesting and informative, yet the text is quite simple. The illustrations are great! Lots of fun details, and students can play "find the cat." I especially liked the page showing the cat walking along the deck underneath the sentence "And when the fog comes creeping in..." Shades of Carl Sandburg. There is also an author's note at the end explaining th ...more
Apr 12, 2013 Meredith rated it it was amazing
It must be very hard to write nonfiction books for very young readers. It must be hard, because there aren't very many, and many of the ones that exist aren't very good. Brian Floca came to the library today (he's very handsome-a meaningless but potentially interesting fact), and since I'd never read any of his books before, I thought I'd give this a shot. It's a very good nonfiction picture book. Interesting, informative, great illustrations, and minimal text. I could read this out loud! To chi ...more
Mrs. Trimble
Aug 05, 2012 Mrs. Trimble rated it liked it
Shelves: nf, picture-book
The beautiful watercolor illustrations, larger text, random bubble dialogue, and small sentences make this book easy for young readers to read and understand. The full-ship diagram on the end papers complements the text. The ship’s cat is seen in most of the illustrations, making it one of the principal characters. The beginning and ending sentence “Here is a ship that holds her place” encourages the reader’s curiosity. The Author’s Note provides more detailed information about lightships for th ...more
Mar 26, 2009 Kermit rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
From Booklist's Best Picture Books of 2008. Lightships were lighthouses ---only they're weren't situated on a bluff near the water---they were anchored IN the water. They served the same purpose as a light house and had lighted signals and loud horns to keep ships from sailing aground or running into reefs or getting lost in foggy and stormy weather. Lightships are no longer used. The illustrations in this book show a cat living on the lightship. I don't think a cat would like to live on a light ...more
Jan 18, 2008 Susan rated it it was amazing
One of the things I like best about being a children's librarian is coming across books like these - books about things I did not know about before - like lightships which are boats that acted as lighthouses and the lives of the people on board who crewed them. Informative and appealing with art that reminded me a bit of Spier, a bit of Blegvad (and I am a rabid fan of both illustrators), I appreciated the very informative author's note, the lovely endpages spread of the boat with all the labele ...more
Erin Buhr
Mar 18, 2014 Erin Buhr rated it really liked it
Have you ever heard of a Lightship? Brian Floca introduces the world to these fascinating ships in this lovely non-fiction book. Lightships function as lighthouses where lighthouses cannot stand. They anchor themselves and "holds her place" no matter what comes their way in order to keep the other ships safe. Floca tells a riveting story about Lightships, but also integrates a variety of vocabulary and knowledge about all ships. Soft watery illustrations and informative text, a wonderful read.
Chris Young
Nov 28, 2011 Chris Young rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Brian Floca writing and watercolor paintings work together so beautifully and simply to evoke a noble air around the lightship, vessels anchored to the ground who never moved but lighted the way for others. The dignity of the ship, its crew and their purpose are created almost with suspense. Who ARE these people? What are they waiting for? The illustrations, at once playful and graceful, will keep students interested in this meditation on waiting and service.
Apr 24, 2013 D'metria rated it it was amazing
This book is about lightships and their many characteristics, and how they differ from smaller boats, etc. It is stated that they are larger than small boats, but are steadfast. I would raise the question, why they think this is. What are the many things that allow a boat to maintain motion? How can technology be placed into the equation? Are there boats that run on motors, similar to cars? What is a motor anyway?
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Brian Floca is the author-illustrator of the Caldecott Medal winner Locomotive, the Robert F. Sibert Honor books Moonshot and Lightship, and other picture books, and is the illustrator of many more books for young readers. Brian Floca lives and works in Brooklyn.
More about Brian Floca...

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