Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Lighthouse Family: The Whale

The Lighthouse Family: The Whale

Cynthia Rylant
Illustrator:  Preston McDaniels 
Fiction  Series
For ages 7 to 10
Simon and Schuster, 2004   ISBN: 978-0689848834

There is an island somewhere on which there is a lonely lighthouse. Not that long ago a lonesome cat called Pandora used to spend her days at the lighthouse, tending the lighthouse lamp, baking bread, and working in her garden. Though Pandora was not exactly unhappy, she also was not as happy as she is now. For now Pandora is no longer alone on her island. First a sea dog landed on her beach, worn out and injured by a terrible storm. It wasn’t long before the dog, Seabold, felt very much at hope living with Pandora. Then the sea brought forth another vessel of weary travelers. This time it was three little mice children who slept before the fire in the lighthouse cottage. Orphaned and in need of a home the mice, Whistler, Lila, and Tiny, soon came to feel that the lighthouse with its kindly cat and dog was their family.

Pandora, Seabold and the children have settled down together very well, finding plenty to do and sharing their joys with each other. The only thing the little mice did not have was “adventure,” something dear to the heart of the sailor dog Seabold. So Whistler and his little sister Lila set off looking for something new and interesting and they come up with a truly enormous adventure. In one of the coves of their island the two mice children find a baby whale. He is crying very loudly indeed and is very upset. The mice soon find out that the whale has lost his Mama and doesn’t know where to look for her. The mice take it upon themselves to find the whale’s mother and they end up have all sorts of wonderful experiences.

With a gentle feel to it that is soothing and comfortable, this charming little chapter book with its lovely illustrations is a real treasure. It is a pleasure to continue sharing the lives of Pandora, Seabold, and the mice children, all lost souls who needed a family. The story reminds us that families come in all shapes and sizes. We also see how special true kindness can be even if the package it comes in is crabby and irascible. With characters that one can identify with and a simple story, this book is sure to delight beginner readers.