Book Review: The Abandoned Lighthouse by Albert Lamb


The Abandoned Lighthouse by Albert Lamb, illustrated by David McPhail

A bear finds a rowboat near his favorite waterfall and promptly falls asleep in it.  The rowboat carries him through the sea and to a rocky shore with a lighthouse.  Then the rowboat drifted away.  It appeared on the beach near a young boy and his dog.  When his ball got stuck in the boat, the boy climbed in.  He and his dog were carried to the same lighthouse.  There, the boy and the bear met, spent time together, and slept.  But the little dog was awoken in the night by a storm and they all spotted a very large ship about the crash on the rocks.  They worked together to light the lamp and warn the ship to safety.  In the end, the rowboat carried the bear and the boy back to their own shores and the ship safely into its port.

This appealing book tells a simple story in a straight-forward way, perfect for young readers.  It is formatted as a reader rather than a picture book, though it would be successful in either format.  The story has enough mystery to keep the pages turning and then enough action to finish up on a high note.  It is a rather mystical book, filled with possibilities, but can still be read as a simple story as well.

McPhail’s art is lovely.  He plays with jewel tones in the sea, light and dark in the storm.  His art is easy to understand, making it very appropriate for the title.  Yet in his art, there is also the potential to see more too. 

A very nice early reader for library collections, this book is gentle and mysterious.  Appropriate for ages 4-6.  Reviewed from copy received from Roaring Brook Press.