Sal T. Dog: One Stormy Night at Pickle Light

Fred Clough, Author, Dan Kirchoff, Illustrator Down East Books $12.95 (48p) ISBN 978-0-89272-281-5
There are many appealing aspects of this overlong sea saga, told in amusing--if occasionally forced--quatrains. Off the fog-shrouded Maine coast in 1892, rosy-cheeked Sal T. Dog proudly minds the lighthouse at treacherous Pickle Rock--with sporadic assistance from a droll cat and mouse duo. ``For forty years he kept this light / And never missed a day. / Around the clock at Pickle Rock / Sal's light would point the way.'' Hardworking Sal takes sick ``one blustery night,'' just as a northeaster unleashes its fury on his domain. Luckily, Sal's devoted wife sees her duty and does it--lashing herself to the lighthouse, she ``climbed the hundred steps it took / to tend the blackened light.'' Children may well be intrigued by this revealing glimpse of a vocation not often depicted in picture books. With a boldly defined style reminiscent of Peter Max, Kirchoff paints a lovable leading couple and a fetchingly fierce storm. The unfortunate anthropomorphization of the lighthouse and threatening clouds, however, lowers the book to the level of Saturday-morning cartoons. Ages 4-8. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/05/1990
Release date: 06/01/1990
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