Friday, September 14, 2018

The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge by Hildegarde Hoyt Swift


Swift, uses personification to give the lighthouse, the bridge, and the boats a voice alongside the lighthouse keeper and bridge workers in The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge. The book has a chronological plot following the days of the little red lighthouse in his experience before and after the building of the Hudson River Bridge, in the setting of New York City. First, the protagonist, the little red lighthouse feels extremely proud of his job keeping the boats safe along the Hudson river. Until the day, the Hudson River Bridge is first put to use, as it becomes complete. This causing two sets of conflict within the story, person-against-person; as well as, person-against- self as the little red lighthouse feels inadequate and unnecessary. The book finishes with a solution to the conflict and the little red lighthouse and the great grey bridge working together as they still do today.

Ward uses beautiful watercolor paintings in this edition that restores the original design of the book published in 1942. Realistic art while giving human features to the main characters in the book; the lighthouse and the bridge. Allowing the reader an opportunity to see real-life images of the Hudson River Bridge, the lighthouse, and the steam boats. The darker colors and deeper lines used in the storm scene allows the reader to sense danger on the horizon. During the storm, Ward uses personification within the painting, giving the fog a face and hands to show how, “the thick fog crept over the river and clutched the boats” (p. 36).

Image: Daytonian in Manhattan

This book rates five out of five. I am a person who really enjoys lighthouses, for their beauty and their purpose. I also like the story Swift tells to children, that little people can do big things as she shows this little red lighthouse shining its big bright light protecting the ships that are near. Students can know that they are just as important as the big tall bridges that are near them, because each individual has a purpose and just because they are big they may not be able to do the same job. A reminder that every person is important no matter what size.

I read this book as a part of my #BookaDay Reading Challenge, inspired by Donalyn Miller. My goal is to read at least one children's literature book every weekday and share my thoughts here on my blog. Please feel free to subscribe or connect with me on social media to follow my journey through the books I read. Until next time ...

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