Title: Peppe the Lamplighter by Elisa Bartone
Bibliography: Bartone, E. (1993). Peppe the lamplighter. New York, New York: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books.
Annotation: Peppe lived in Italy, before there was electricity. His father was ill, his mother was dead, and had eight sisters. They all lived with his uncle and Peppe wanted to help support his family so he looked for work. The butcher, the bartender, and the candy maker all turned him away. Through the grapevine, the town’s lamplighter heard that Peppe was looking for a job. He asked Peppe if he would light the town’s lamps while he was away fetching his wife. Peppe was thrilled! After disagreements with his family, one night, Peppe did not light the streetlamps and one of his sisters was lost in the darkness of the town. Once Peppe learns this, he rushes to light all of the lamps and finds his sister!
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Grade Level: 2-4
Readers who will like this book: Peppe the Lamplighter would be a great tool for teachers to use for teaching about the importance of jobs that keep a society running, as well as a great way to show students what life was like before electricity and the technology we have today!
Personal Response and rating: 4; I felt that this book’s message that no part is small was fabulously exhibited. Peppe’s struggle between helping his family financially and keeping them happy is an unfortunate reality in today’s world, so I really appreciated the cultural relevancy it provided as well as the historical context.
Question: Before electricity, do you think a lamplighter’s job was important to a community?
b.) Instruct the students to complete a ‘quickwrite’ summarizing the moral of the story. What did Peppe and the rest of the town learn?
c.) Using the ‘quickwrite’ reading strategy, the teacher can evaluate the students’ comprehension of the story as well as addressing writing and content area.