Friday, January 12, 2018

Lighthouse family series by Cynthia Rylant illustrated by Preston McDaniels

On my recent trip to Seattle I stumbled across the Lighthouse Family series by Cynthia Rylant.  I picked out The Storm because I adore lighthouses, I am always on the look out for simple chapter books with satisfying stories and I really appreciate the writing of Cynthia Rylant with books like Mr PutterHigh-rise Private Eyes, Missing May and the Henry and Mudge series.  There are six books in the Lighthouse Family series and while they are available they are not new - the first was published in 2002.

Pandora, a kindhearted cat, has lived alone at the lighthouse for the last four years. She is very lonely but she knows this is an important job and she has saved many lives. She has occasional visitors such as a whale called Atoll and a tern called Henry.  We meet these two again in subsequent books.

Seabold is an old seafaring dog who is caught in a wild storm. His boat is wrecked near the lighthouse and Pandora rescues and cares for him.

"For he found himself in a little wooden bed under a cheerful gingham quilt, and he was no longer in the sea, but looking out at the sea, through a small window by his side. A daisy stood in a jar on the windowsill."

Seabold eventually rebuilds his boat and it seems Pandora will be lonely all over again.  But is has taken a long time to repair the boat, it takes a long time for his leg to heal and somehow the seasons pass. Seabold is surprised he enjoys being on land and he admires the importance of Pandora's work. One day in the Spring the pair spy a drifting crate with a flag. Seabold rows out to investigate and inside are three little mice - a boy, a girl and a tiny baby.  In fact the baby is named Tiny.  His brother  Whistler and sister Lila have escaped from an orphanage.  Now Seabold will stay - he loves Tiny, Pandora has a family to care for and the three little mice have found a true home.

"Seabold grew quite attached to Tiny. He put her in the soft roll of his knitted cap and she went everywhere with him, seeing all that he saw."

Here is a review of The Storm.  Take a look at this video of Cynthia's first book When I was Young in the Mountains.  There are some audio samples of The Storm and The Whale here.

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