Monday, October 08, 2007

Children's Book Monday

The Light at Tern Rock
By Julia L. Sauer
Illustrated by Georges Schreiber

This is a chapter book, and may I recommend that you read it aloud to your children? It has only four chapters, making for a light read and easily finished in two or three nights. The story will captivate you along with your little ones; offering much food for thought and leading to wonderful conversation.

When Byron Flagg, the keeper of the Tern Rock Island lighthouse, plans a trip away before Christmas, he asks for Martha Morse to take his place and for her nephew, eleven-year-old Ronnie, to be a help to her. With a promise to return no later than the fifteenth of December, he takes his leave, and Aunt "Marthy" and Ronnie move in for two weeks. Only, it ends up being longer than they thought...

When the plans change, and Aunt Marthy and Ronnie realize what has happened, the story takes a turn that will undoubtedly mean much to your children. Ronnie feels betrayed, and says so, while his aunt quietly, lovingly, and firmly takes him in hand and speaks words of truth to him.
"Come now. Whatever happens, our lamp must burn."
This kind of book fosters so much communication between you and your child. It pinpoints character flaws such as selfishness, anger, and bitterness, and then uses a trustworthy adult and a finely crafted storyline as an example of how to behave when life just isn't fair. I, for one, am so grateful to learn this along with my children.

I also greatly appreciated the language in this book- there is no "speaking down" to your children; the vocabulary is consistent and worthy of many a "dictionary-shuffle", as we've nicknamed our mad dashes for that fine book. An example:

"Well, isn't this a - a 'mergency?" Ronnie wanted to know.

Mrs. Morse's patience was at an end. "No, it's not," she said firmly. "An emergency -the kind that cannon is for - means there's a ship off there on the Ledges, breaking up. There are helpless sailors - clinging like little black ants to spars - being washed off into Eternity while you watch. No, Ronnie, this is no emergency. We are two able-bodied beings left to guard a light! And we'll do it - Christmas or not!"
We learned much about lighthouses and the old methods of lighting the lantern to guide ships safely ashore. We hovered over the black and white drawings that spoke volumes in and of themselves; no words needed. And we thanked God along with Aunt Marthy and Ronnnie for the gift of Jesus - and remembered that it does not matter where we are for that special day. Only that He finds all in readiness... within.

Happy Reading!

9 fellow travelers shared:

Anna said...

Hi Elise!
Good to be back reviewing with you this week! The book you reviewed sounds very interesting and I can't wait to read it with my daughter. I'm not sure why , but I love stories about lighthouses. :)
Have a great week!

Jenny said...

Yes, we will check it out. We will be studying lighthouses when we learn about Maine. It sounds like it might make a good read aloud for that unit. Do you happen to know in which state it is set? Thanks-Jennifer

Anonymous said...

Mmmmmm, this one looks wonderful!!
Thank you for sharing a treasure with us once again.

Christine said...

That looks wonderful! I'm always in search of character building in disguise (rather than lectures, of course!).


Shelley said...

I have loved lighthouses ever since I heard Elisabeth Elliot speak at a Hearts at Home conference in Indianapolis many years ago, like maybe 12 years or so.

Anyway, she talked about a old spiritual which had been written after a ship crashed into the rocks on shore unable to make the channel because the lower lights on the lighthouse had burned out.

She talked about God being the top light of the lighthouse, and how we were to be the lower lights to guide our neighbors, our children, etc, safely to the shore of Christ Jesus.

The name of the old spiritual is Let the Lower Lights be Burning, by P. Bliss. And it goes like this:

Brightly beams our Father's mercy from His lighthouse evermore,
But to us He gives the keeping of the lights along the shore.
Let the lower lights be burning! Send a gleam across the wave!
Some poor fainting, struggling seaman you may rescue, you may save.

Dark the night of sin has settled, loud the angry billows roar;
Eager eyes are watching, longing, for the lights, along the shore.
Let the lower lights be burning! Send a gleam across the wave!
Some poor fainting, struggling seaman you may rescue, you may save.

Trim your feeble lamp, my brother, some poor sailor tempest tossed,
Trying now to make the harbour, in the darkness may be lost.
Let the lower lights be burning! Send a gleam across the wave!
Some poor fainting, struggling seaman you may rescue, you may save.

I think I will make this book be a part of our Christmas unit this year. It sounds like it would be perfect. Last year we did The Best Christmas Pagaent Ever, and I have been wondering what to use this year. Thanks so much for finding these great treasures and for sharing them with us!

Joyful Days said...

The Light at Tern Rock is one we've owned for at least five years. Definitely a keeper! Definitely one to read again.

Have a blessed week.


Beverly said...

Sounds like a great one! I love books that help children (and adults!) expand their vocabulary.

Love to you!

Beka said...

Looks like a good read! I love lighthouse stories... something intriguing about them.

Praying for you, dear friend-- hope your day is grace-filled and joyful!

me :) said...

This is a fabulous book!! Great recommendation! I read it to my kids the first time when they were 4 and 5 and they were enthralled (and are normally very wiggly and hard to impress.) I am glad I found your blog!

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