Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Birdie’s Lighthouse

Birdie’s Lighthouse

Deborah Hopkinson
Illustrator:  Kimberly Bulcken Root 
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 9
Simon and Schuster, 2000   ISBN: 978-0689835292

   Bertha, “Birdie” Holland” lives with her family by the ocean in Maine. Her father is a fisherman and as she anxiously waits for him to come home Birdie writes about her life in a diary that her father gave her for her tenth birthday. The whole family worries about Birdie’s father and they hope that the lighthouse on Turtle Island will help guide him home.

   When Birdie’s father finally comes home they discover that they need not worry about him going out fishing any longer, for he has a new job as the lighthouse keeper. The whole family will be moving to lonelyTurtleIslandto begin a new life.

    It is not easy adjusting to life on the barren little island, and Birdie misses some of the things that she had in her old life. At the same time she discovers new pleasures and treasures in her new home. Perhaps the best thing for Birdie is that she is able to become her father’s helper. Then one night a northeaster blows up and Birdie has to tend the light on her own.

   This spirited tale gives us a picture of a fascinating way of life which is, alas, mostly a thing of the past. We see how a young person summons up great courage in a time of crisis, and how she rises to the challenge.