The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge
We’re getting ready for a week’s vacation on the coast, so I decided to “row” The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge by Hildegarde H. Swift and Lynd Ward (even though there won’t be any lighthouses where we’re going). Ian was reluctant to read the book with me on Monday morning, but by the end of the story he wanted me to read it again and enthusiastically joined me for reading it the rest of the week.
We did a lot of the discussions from the Five in a Row manual (Vol. 2). It a good chance to talk again about personification, (which I’m still not sure he understands, but I figure multiple exposures will help it click eventually). We also had interesting talk about the rivers in our area–where they start, where they end, etc.). I’m not always consistent about using the story disks, but this was one I didn’t want to skip. Ian really enjoys looking at maps, so it was nice to give him a connection to New York since it’s always just been another state in his USA puzzle.
I loved the two book recommendations in the manual. Ian was fascinated by the pictures in My New York by Kathy Jakobsen. Oh, how I wish I’d read this book before I visited New York! I’ve only been twice, and it’s been about 15 years since the last trip, but I feel like I know more about the city from reading this book than from both of those visits. I would have gotten so much more out of them if I’d read this first. Even if Iantake anything away from the book besides enjoying the sights and hearing the names of some of the landmarks for the first time, it’s a great addition to our home library. I’m sure it will come out every time we read a book set in Manhattan, and hopefully someday we’ll get to explore the city itself.
I was also really impressed with The Bridge Book by Polly Carter. It had a ton of information about the different types of bridges, how they’re made, what materials are used, and lots more. Yet it managed to be simple enough that Ian was able to sit through while I read the whole thing. He was drawn to it throughout the week. I think as the boys get older it’s something that will interest them even more as they get more sophisticated in their block and Lego building.
The only other “go-along” book we used was one we had around the house called Who Sees the Lighthouse? by Ann Fearrington. It has beautiful illustrations based on real lighthouses in the United States, and for me it was worth flipping through just for those. The story leaves a lot to be desired, but Ian enjoyed counting the objects on each page.
Ian loves Reading Rainbow, so we watched the episode “Keep the Lights Burning, Abbie,” which not only talks about this story at the end, but has some fun information on lighthouses and making a “ship-in-a-bottle.” Ian watched it twice, along with Captain January, an old Shirley Temple film about a girl who lives in a lighthouse with a lightkeeper who loses his job when they put in an automated light. Parts of it were slow for the boys, but other parts had them rolling on the floor with laughter.
There’s some helpful information about the real Little Red Lighthouse at nycgocparks.org and lighthouseinn-ct.com (some beautiful pictures of it on this site). Looking at these sites and reading this story made me want to go back to New York and experience it all over. And next time I go, we’ll definitely try to take some time to visit the lighthouse at Jeffery’s Hook!