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Lighthouse Christmas Hardcover – October 13, 2011
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“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
Top Customer Reviews
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. On Christmas Eve the storm intensifies and something happens that requires them to work together as a family. It is during this time that requires bravery, cooperation, and unselfishness that all of them realize just how important they are to each other and the maintenance of the lighthouse and the safety of boats and their sailor's lives. On Christmas Day a very special surprise is in store for the Ledge Light Family. You will not be able to put the book down until you read about their special Christmas Day Surprise.
This is a beautiful story which can be read in less than a half hour. It is not only a wonderfully warm Christmas story but is also a story that can be read anytime of the year. The reader experiences a nostalgic story of a family enjoying the simple pleasures of a Christmas celebration where instead of presents and lots of delicious food, they have something much more important, and that is each other. This is a must read for anyone who likes lighthouses and Christmas.
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.