Book Buzz: Hello Lighthouse
Written and Illustrated by Sophie Blackall
Ages 4-7, Little, Brown and Company
Lighthouses can be somewhat monotonous. Always blinking on and off, on and off, on and off. But did you ever think of the purpose of a lighthouse? How it guides ships at sea along the coasts and beaches of the world, keeping them safe from reefs and shoals that would wreck them?
Better yet, did you ever think of who tends to the lighthouses and all the work that goes into maintaining them? How much fun would it be working in a lighthouse on a tiny island or on a sea shore cliff?
On the highest rock of a tiny island
At the edge of the world stands a lighthouse.
It is built to last forever.
Sending its light out to sea,
guiding the ships on their way.
Caldecott medalist Sophie Blackall’s Hello Lighthouse takes us on an insider’s look at the inner workings of a lighthouse and the people who tend to it. The lighthouse keeper has much work to do. From keeping the lens clean to winding the mechanism that rotates the lamp. Often they have to row out to help a stranded sailor whose ship has run aground. All the while, the keeper must keep meticulous notes in his log of the weather, and identify the ships that pass by and all the comings and goings of the sea.
With all this work to do, there is surprisingly a lot of down time. During this time, the keeper writes letters, builds kites to fly from the lantern gallery, and sometimes, when assistants are there, plays checkers. Many have husbands and wives and raise families in the little round rooms.
But with time come improvements. The new lighthouse machinery does not require the constant maintenance of the keeper’s knowing hand. What will he do now?
Blackall’s signature watercolor style illuminates the scenes with vibrant detail of the day-to-day work of the lighthouse keepers. If you look closely, you and your young ones will discover something new with each reading.