By: Lizi Boyd
Published by: Chronicle Books, 2014
Flashlight by LIzi Boyd has been a permanent fixture in my book bag for two months, wracking up a hefty overdue library fine in the process – it only makes sense to share why I haven’t been able to put this picture book down!
Void of text and only dappled with occasional, yet purposeful, splashes of colour, this book manages to inspire wonder, fun, imagination and a sense of discovery. After emerging from his cozy tent late one night, a young boy explores the magical world outside with the help of his trusty flashlight beam. What he finds is a silvery nighttime landscape alive with friendly forest animals, delicate flowers, and a full moon to help shed some light on the treasures waiting to be discovered. Each beautifully illustrated page invites young readers to create their own story as they experience a playful nighttime adventure page after page.
One of the reasons that I am smitten with Flashlight is that it offers so many possibilities for creative lesson extensions. I had the pleasure of delivering a guest demonstration lesson in a kindergarten classroom recently, and I was thrilled about incorporating this book into my lesson. The children had been studying Andy Goldsworthy, an artist who is famous for creating art installations using inspiration and materials from nature. To extend on this theme, I lead the students through a book walk of Flashlight as a large group, discussing with the children how there is beauty and art to be found in nature even in the dark. The students then split into small groups and were supplied with large black canvases, white chalk, and pale-coloured pastels to create a group mural. The students were encouraged to use inspiration from their study of Andy Goldsworthy and our Flashlight read aloud to create their “nature in the dark” masterpieces. I could not have been more thrilled with the results as I observed the students working together to create beautiful pieces of art as the culmination of all that they had learned.
Flashlight is a wordless literacy treasure. The artistic details on each page encourage young readers to explore a playful nocturnal world from the comfort and safety of their own beds. With endless possibilities for inspiring creative thinking, storytelling, and a sense of wonder, Flashlight will surely continue to be a staple in my book bag for years to come.