Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge


The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge by Hildegarde H. Swift and Lynd Ward is one of my FAVORITE children's books. I think that is why THIS stop on our vacation was one of my favorite's.

For those of you not familiar with the book, it is based on the real George Washington bridge and Jeffrey's Hook Lighthouse, located on the Hudson River north of Manhattan in New York City. The lighthouse was first built in 1889 and was later reconstructed and operational until 1941.

In the book, the lighthouse (personified) is proud of his job of warning the boats about the rocks along the river and using its bell in the event of fog. Then one day, the lighthouse watches as men build the "great, gray bridge" next to him. The lighthouse now feels insignificant and small next to such a large, important-looking structure. Then one day during a storm, when he feels like he's completely useless, the bridge calls down to the lighthouse, reminding him of his importance. Finally, the man (who was only delayed because some boys had stolen his keys) comes to get the lighthouse operating to save the boats who are in danger. The lighthouse resumes his necessary responsibilities and is reminded that size has nothing to do with importance.

I'm not kidding - my eyes filled with tears BOTH TIMES I read this book to the kids. I'm apparently a mess when it comes to characters realizing their importance in life or achieving greatness in the end. When my voice cracks, I can feel the kids peering at me like, "What is wrong with Mom?"

Another reason I loved this little "field trip" is what a respite Fort Washington Park felt like from the hustle and bustle of Manhattan. This is part of the trail that leads from the street parking and pedestrian bridge at Riverside Drive down to the water's edge.

When you are in NYC, it's nice to find any spots you can to just let your kids loose and run.

In 1951, the lighthouse was going to be torn down. Because of the public's love of this book (which was published in 1942), the lighthouse was saved and remains a preserved NYC landmark.

I only wish we'd been better prepared for the cold. I'm not sure how we got out of the car without proper gloves and coats. I even had to give up my coat for my 10 year old. I think we didn't realize how much colder it was going to be next to the water.

This wasn't our first lighthouse visit during our vacation. I posted yesterday about our visit to a lighthouse in Maryland with my blog friend, Annette.

Fort Washington Park is located in the Washington Heights area of NYC. We would have used the picnic tables to eat our lunch if the weather had been warmer.

This says it is the last surviving lighthouse on Manhattan island.

You can see the skyline of Manhattan in the distance.

The kids always automatically want to throw rocks and sticks into any body of water.

We'll definitely make a stop here during our next trip to New York! They give tours of the lighthouse during warmer months. There is even a lighthouse festival, that looks fun, every September .

I only took this picture because I'd been urging Ryan to "smile" more during pictures. He thinks he's smiling in picture, but really he isn't. You'd have to click on this picture to appreciate the effort he is making here. He thought he was overdramatically smiling, but really it just looks like a normal smile.

Our Art Project:
First, I googled "lighthouse outline image."
I printed off copies of this lighthouse picture.

The kids cut out small squares of red, black, and yellow construction paper to glue onto their lighthouses in mosaic/collage style.

After the lighthouse images were decorated with the mosaic design and cut out, they were glued onto large blue construction paper. I also gave them gray cardstock to cut out strips and design their own bridges. They also drew rocks and water at the bottom with marker.

my 3 year old's and 5 year old's finished projects


Linking up: stART at A Mommy's Adventures, Kids Get Crafty at Red Ted Art, and Read, Explore, Learn at JDaniel4's Mom

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10 comments:

Annette W. said...

I loved the project!!!

I had never heard of the book...but will need to look into it before we visit NYC (this year??).

At least you had a clear view that day!

Christy said...

I love their projects! We haven't read this book, but I'm adding it to my library list.

Brimful Curiosities said...

The lighthouse does look very small compared to the bridge in your picture. That looks like a great travel destination, especially for those fond of lighthouses and books. I imagine seeing it in person makes the message even more touching.

maggy, red ted art said...

Oh my, any book that makes mom's voice crack with emotion is a good book in my eyes... I will so be taking a look at this book! Thank you!

Red Ted LOVES lighthouses (after discovering a tiny one on the design on his plate), we are yet to get Ligthouse crafty! Thanks for the inspiration and thank you for linking up!!

Maggy

maggy, red ted art said...

Oh my, any book that makes mom's voice crack with emotion is a good book in my eyes... I will so be taking a look at this book! Thank you!

Red Ted LOVES lighthouses (after discovering a tiny one on the design on his plate), we are yet to get Lighthouse crafty! Thanks for the inspiration and thank you for linking up!!

Maggy

JDaniel4's Mom said...

I love that you went on a field trip to see lighthouse. I bet it your kids loved exploring it. JDaniel has books that make me cry too.

SnoopyGirl said...

What a wonderful adventure and project! I love anything based on a book. It is so fun to see the activities and creativity that come from a great story. Thank you for sharing!

April said...

Great project. You know I've had my voice crack many a times when reading children's books. I remember my daughter loved the "how do dinosaurs" series by Jane Yolen and so I went ahead and bought How Do Dinosaurs Say I Love You thinking it would be an instant hit...it wasn't really but I still like to read it because it makes me choke up a little bit. Something about unconditional love lol.

Lori @ The Davidson Den said...

Oh, my goodness. There are several books that when I read them outloud to the kids make me start crying. I make a FOOL of myself reading them! Try Alabaster's Song, The Crippled Lamb, and Because I Love You all by Max Lucado (especially the last two).

Oh, and tell Ryan "Great smile!" LOL!!

Rivka said...

What a great trip! I love the project you did, too.