Tuesday, July 6

Flashlight by Lizi Boyd

Summertime is here and lots of families are getting excited about going camping.  Some families will camp in tents.  Some will camp in RVs.  And... some brave families will camp under the stars.  Fun times for all!  

Flashlight by Lizi Boyd is a wordless book about a child who goes camping, wanders around in the dark, and gets lost.  Oh no!  How will the child get back to the tent?  Keep reading to find out what happens to the child, to learn more about Flashlight and the importance of wordless books, and to find the directions for a fun, book-inspired art activity!

Art enrichment activity. Create a nighttime scene inspired by the wordless book Flashlight by Lizi Boyd. Camping theme. Story elements. Illustrations.

This is an updated version of a blog post I wrote in 2014.
Disclosure: Affiliate links to Amazon are included in this post.



Author's Summary

Inside the tent it's cozy, but what is going on outside? Is it dark? Is it scary? Not if you have your trusty flashlight!  A charming story told solely through images: Through neatly drawn illustrations and a spare yet dramatic color palette, artist Lizi Boyd offers an enchanting exploration of night, nature, and art with Flashlight. Both lyrical and humorous, this visual poem—like the flashlight beam itself—reveals there is magic in the darkness. We just have to look for it.

🍎 Title: Flashlight
🍎 Author: Lizi Boyd
🍎 Illustrator: Lizi Boyd
🍎 Publisher: Chronicle Books
🍎 Date: August 12, 2014
🍎 Pages: 40



About Wordless Books

Wordless books are often overlooked as a valuable teaching resource.  Since they have no words in them, they tend get labeled as 'too easy' or as 'baby books.'  Wordless books, however, reinforce some critical reading skills:
  1. Wordless books help improve children's confidence and independence while reading.
  2. Children have an opportunity to use their imaginations and practice their inferential skills while reading wordless books.
  3. Wordless books reinforce verbal skills by encouraging children to talk about the illustrations, ask and answer questions about the story, and retell the story in their own words.
  4. When children have a chance to talk about wordless books with other people, it helps with vocabulary acquisition.
  5. Children learn the importance of illustrations in wordless books... illustrations show us what's happening in the story and are more than decorations.
  6. While children read wordless books, they learn about story plots and structure.
  7. Wordless books can be a source of inspiration for creative writing and writing skills.

Flashlight by Lizi Boyd

Story Elements

All good children's books... including wordless books... have characters, settings, problems, and solutions.  As you look through the pages of Flashlight with your students, talk with them about what they see happening on each page.  Who is the main character?  What is the main character doing?  What is the main character looking at?  What is the biggest problem of the story?  What is its solution?

🍎 character: a child, forest animals
🍎 setting: outside, in the forest, at night
🍎 problem: A child is walking alone in the forest at night.  The child drops the flashlight and gets lost.
🍎 solution: The forest animals find the flashlight and light the way back to the child's tent.

Flashlight by Lizi Boyd

Enrichment Art Activity

As you read and discuss Flashlight, take some time to analyze the illustrations.  Lizi Boyd painted her illustrations with gouache paint on a black background.  Talk about how this gives us the feeling of night and not being able to see well in the dark.  In each illustration, the child shines the flashlight on something and we can see that thing in full detail.  After reading Flashlight, children can create their own nighttime drawing inspired by the illustrations in the book!

You Will Need


Directions

These are the directions for recreating simplified versions of the illustrations in Flashlight.  Instead of using gouache paints like Lizi Boyd, we opted for gel pens.  Using the gel pens created similar... but not exact... impressions and was less expensive than gouache paints.  Feel free to substitute drawing or painting materials as needed.
  1. Draw a nighttime scene with the main character holding a flashlight.  (For fun, children can draw themselves instead of the main character... totally up to you!)
  2. Take one of the white triangles and glue it to the end of the flashlight.  Cut and resize the triangle as needed.  It's OK if the triangle covers parts of the drawing.
  3. Using pens, markers, pencils, etc., recreate the 'missing parts' of the drawing.  

To learn more about Flashlight by Lizi Boyd, check out this interview with Picture Book Storymakers in which Lizi Boyd describes her inspiration for Flashlight and how she created its illustrations.  You can also read the story on YouTube.  Chronicle Books put together a really nice video to preview the book.
  

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