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Lighthouse Christmas Hardcover – October 13, 2011

10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


* “There’s a charmingly nostalgic feel both to the story and to the illustrations, which convey a sense of time and place and are very appealing.” — School Library Journal, starred review

“Readers looking for a feel-good holiday story will find one here.” — Horn Book

“Mixed-media spreads filled with homespun period accents spark the poignant story.” — Publishers Weekly

“A gentle but dramatic story of an earlier time.” — Kirkus

“The telling is smooth and engaging, and Carpenter’s mixed media pictures set the appropriate mood.” — Bulletin of the Center for Childrens Books

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 3
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Dial Books; First Edition edition (October 13, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803730535
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803730533
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 10.8 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #499,927 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Toni Buzzeo (1951- ), the acclaimed author of 20 picture books as well as 11 books for educators, was born in Dearborn, Michigan and grew up in the Dearborn Public Libraries, reading nearly every book in the children's and young adult sections of the Snow Branch library before taking a job downtown at the Main library as a Library Page and then a Library Assistant to put herself through college.

After earning a BA and MA in English from the University of Michigan, she worked for a decade as a college and high school English teacher. She then earned an MLIS from the University of Rhode Island and returned to libraries as a school librarian. She was named Maine Library Media Specialist of the Year in 1999 and continued to work as an elementary school librarian while she launched a successful writing career.

In 2013, Toni's New York Times best-selling book One Cool Friend, illustrated by David Small, won a Caldecott Honor. It also won the Maine Literary Award for Children's Books from the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance in the same year.

Since her first book, The Sea Chest, won a Maine Lupine Honor in 2003, Toni has received many other awards for her books, including a 2004-2005 Children's Gallery Award, also for The Sea Chest, and the 2012 Time of Wonder award for Lighthouse Christmas. Her books Dawdle Duckling, Little Loon and Papa, and One Cool Friend have been chosen by the Dolly Parton Imagination Library for international distribution to young children. Just Like My Papa, Stay Close to Mama, and Dawdle Duckling have all been Children's Book of the Month Club selections as well. Toni currently has four more picture books under contract.

Toni is a bit of a vagabond, writing in a charming writing cottage built by her husband on 35 acres of a colonial farm in Buxton, Maine, writing at the Cambridge Public Library near her grandbaby in Massachusetts, and slipping down to write in her sunny winter nest in Sarasota, Florida when the weather turns blustery at home.

A well-known speaker, Toni speaks extensively in schools as well as at conferences and district and regional professional development trainings, both nationally and internationally. Visit her website at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By White Fang on October 15, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Lighthouse Christmas" is a delightful children's book combining two of my favorite things - Christmas and lighthouses. A 10 7/8 by 8 3/4 inch book, it is based on the true story of the "Flying Santa Sevice" which was founded in 1929 to fly Christmas packages to lighthouse keepers and their families on the islands in Maine's Penobscot Bay. The pictures in this book are many times stark - conveying the feeling of life on a lonely lighthouse island away from family and friends during the most wonderful time of year - Christmas! Many of the illustrations are full page and all are colored.

The Ledge Light Family -- Papa, Frances, Peter and their one eared cat are spending their first Christmas as a lighthose keeping family on one of the lonely islands off the coast of Maine. It is especially difficult this year because they are without their mother who passed away. The children are looking forward to Christmas like any other boy or girl. They would like to celebrate Christmas just like they always did, with homemade cookies, singing and lots of presents. This year was different, however, because they found themselves on this lonely island and most of the food supplies that would have made Christmas special are gone. No supply ships can make it to the island because of a prolonged winter storm. One day the opportunity comes for the children to leave the lighthouse and go to their grandparent's house for Christmas. At first both children are so happy to spend Christmas on the mainland with their grandparents and have all the things that they had for Christmas in previous years. As the day gets closer both children begin to have second thoughts. They remember that they are part of the Ledge Light Family and that they were leaving their papa and their one eared cat to man the lighthouse alone.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Michele Kingery on December 9, 2011
Format: Hardcover
"We both want Christmas, Frances thought. So why did people have to live in lonely places like Ledge Light?"

Frances and her little brother Peter are especially lonely this Christmas. Their mother died in the spring and their father has taken a job transfer, moving their little family from the mainland lighthouse to one "in the middle of the ocean." Peter is determined that Christmas will come one way or another and sets out to "plan" it with cheerful drawings of his holidays dreams; cookies, carols around Aunt Martha's piano, candy canes and an evergreen tree. Frances doesn't say it, but an empty pantry and a delayed supply boat don't bode well. She carries on, never dashing Peter's hopes, but not overly optimistic either.

I found this book on the NY Times Review page several weeks ago when I was trolling for children's holiday literature. What can I say about this wonderful little story? Nancy Carpenter's illustrations are done with a limited palette that captures a bygone era. Frances, in her cropped hair and white pinafore is the perfect mix of brave and vulnerable. Snuggled up to a chubby, one-eared cat with his crayons and paper, Peter is a little boy so filled with hope and optimism, your heart aches for him.

Writer Toni Buzzeo is to be commended for having just the right touch, taking what could have been a sentimental, overwrought tale and weaving something heartfelt and fresh. A Christmas miracle arrives in the form of a special package dropped from a plane piloted by a "flying Santa". A little bit of history about the "Flying Santa Service" follows at the end of the book.

"Lighthouse Christmas" will take its place among my favorites. It is a delight and one I look forward to revisiting each year. To keep or share, "Lighthouse Christmas" is a treasure.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Catherine W. Hughes on December 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Living in Ledge Light tower, Peter and Frances wonder if Santa will come for Christmas. When a big storm blows through for the holiday, Peter and Frances' father comes to the rescue. Meanwhile, Peter and Frances put together a family celebration of their own. A small plane drops a sack of gifts, complete with a note from Santa, answering the children's wishes for a Merry Christmas at Ledge Light. Full of the spirit of Christmas, children, ages 5-8, will want to read this picture book to find out about celebrating Christmas in a lighthouse.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Z Hayes HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on December 10, 2011
Format: Hardcover
My first grader have a holiday tradition - each year in December, we begin reading Christmas-themed stories at bedtime. Thanks to our well-stocked public library system (we are blessed to have three public libraries close by), we never seem to run out of holiday books. We have our favorites that we revisit year after year, and after reading Lighthouse Christmas tonight, this title is going to go on our annual must-read list.

Lighthouse Christmas is inspired by a true story. Set in the late 1930s, motherless siblings Frances and Peter are bemoaning the fact that it is near Christmas, and they are living on an isolated place in the middle of the ocean called Ledge Light where their father works as the resident lighthouse keeper. The place is so remote that supplies are hard to come by, and Frances can't even bake cookies as she has run out of sugar.

To fill time, Peter uses little scraps of paper to draw the things he and Frances hope to have for Christmas, and even presents for their dad and one-eared cat. It was heartening to read of these children's Christmas wishes - for simple things such as butter cookies and the sound of someone playing beautiful music on the piano, things so many people take for granted these days. Young Frances, who seems to be shouldering more than her fair share after her mother's death in spring, applies herself to making a simple, handmade Lighthouse Keeper's Journal for her beloved dad. These children have so little, yet persevere and forge on.

Then one stormy night, the children's father goes out in his dory to rescue a man lost at sea. It is up to Frances to keep the light burning in the lighthouse, something she had never done before. Is Frances up to the task and will her father succeed in his task?
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