Saturday, December 12, 2009

REVIEW: Lights Out

Geisert, A.  (2005).  Lights Out.  New York:  Houghton Mifflin Company.


Appetizer:  A young pig is afraid of the dark and can't go to sleep without a light on.  His parents insist he must turn the light out by 8 PM, so the young pig engineers a complicated device to turn off his light on time after he has fallen asleep.

This picturebook is almost completely wordless.  Only the first page includes a lot of text.  After that, there are only a few labels here or there to read.  In terms of visual literacy, however, this book is intense.  To understand every step-all 29 of them--of the mechanisms the pig creates to delay having his night light switched off takes time to absorb and provides fun insights into cause and effect for young readers.

I liked this picturebook.  The pig's fear of the dark is very relatable for young readers and his creativeness in solving the dilemma with his parents' ultimatum is entertaining.

I also liked the style of the illustrations, which include a lot of lines to direct the reader's focus or show contrast in angles.  This book could be brought in to help students learn the distinctions among, vertical, horizontal and diagonal lines.


This is a good book to share with young readers to encourage visual literacy.  A parent or teacher should encourage a young reader to report what they see in the illustrations about how the pig's devise works.

Lights Out would also be good to provide an example of creative problem solving and to show the amount of time and effort it can take to accomplish a goal.

This book could also be paired with playing the board game Mouse Trap.  Does anybody remember that game?  I always wanted to play that game as a child.  But I had very little patience for the actual building of the trap.  The fun part was the actual trapping. Not the building.

An art teacher could focus on the fact that instead of filling in solid colors throughout the illustrations, Geisert instead chose to draw lines to fill the space.  A teacher could connect this to dot art as well.

Although the book is concerned with going to bed, I wouldn't say it's actually a good bedtime read, since it provokes deep thinking and staring at the book's pages for minutes upon minutes upon minutes.

Quote of Note:

"My parents make me turn off the light at eight.  They know I'm afraid to go to sleep unless the light is on.  They said, "If you can figure something out--go ahead."  So I did."

Tasty Rating:  !!!

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