The Abandoned Lighthouse
written by Albert Lamb; illustrated by David McPhail
2011 (Roaring Brook Press)
Source: Mebane Public Library
A well fed bear finds an empty rowboat on the beach and decides to take a nap. The tide rolls in and takes the boat to the rocks surrounding an abandoned lighthouse. As the bear fishes near the rocks, the boat floats away. A boy is playing on a different shore later that day, kicking a ball with his little dog. The ball bounces into the back of an empty rowboat. When the boy enters the boat to recover his ball, the boat floats out into the sea. His dog paddles furiously and catches the boy in the boat. Exhausted, both boy and dog fall asleep and later find themselves on the rocks beneath an abandoned lighthouse. The bear rescues them and also catches fish for dinner. That night, a storm blows in and brings a large ship perilously close to the lighthouse. Will the three friends be able to revive the lighthouse and save the ship from the rocky shore?
The Abandoned Lighthouse reminds me of Maurice Sendak's Little Bear books which are very appealing to beginning readers. It has a similarly peaceful feel to it with plenty of opportunities for readers to practice their skills of prediction and sequence. As experienced readers, we know that when the bear falls asleep, he is going to float out to sea. Beginning readers don't necessarily know this, so this book is a good opportunity to think through why this happens and how it drives the story. Reading The Abandoned Lighthouse would also be a good opportunity for younger readers to practice retell with the use of sequence. I also like the open ending which would lend itself to a shared writing experience where you could write a new adventure for the rowboat.
A Book and A Hug