Hello Lighthouse

by Sophie Blackall

A new keeper arrives at a lighthouse on a tiny island. Every day he winds the clockwork... read more

A new keeper arrives at a lighthouse on a tiny island. Every day he winds the clockwork that keeps the light turning, writes in his log book, refills the oil, trims the wick, polishes the lens. He fishes for his dinner and writes letters to his wife. Eventually, she arrives on the tender that also brings supplies. In the long arc of routine across years, there are moments of high drama, and slow change, calm seas and fierce storms. Shipwrecked sailors are rescued. Their baby is born and begins to grow into a little girl. Eventually, there is a collective goodbye as new lights are installed that make the keeper’s job obsolete. Exquisite Chinese ink and watercolor illustrations capture the sweeping romantic sensibility that lighthouses can conjure while porthole-shaped insets show intimate scenes of family life (such as the keeper’s wife walking circles while in labor, and their little girl playing with toy boats). The measured, present-tense narrative is followed by a robust author’s note, “About Lighthouses,” that fills in additional details about keepers’ busy, sometimes lonely, lives. (Ages 4–8)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2019

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