cover image The Abandoned Lighthouse

The Abandoned Lighthouse

Albert Lamb, illus. by David McPhail. Roaring Brook, $15.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-59643-525-4

The creators of Sam's Winter Hat contribute understated text and art to this charming small-format book about friendship and teamwork. As a bear naps in a rowboat on the beach, the tide carries the craft out to sea, and it lands at an abandoned lighthouse. The boat drifts away, but later returns carrying a boy and his dog. Glad for the company, the bear enlists the boy's help catching fish while clouds gather in the distance. In a droll scene, the boy looks aghast as the bear eagerly swallows a whole fish at dinner. Shattering the dialogue-free tale's placidity, a storm descends at night and the trio must illuminate the lighthouse beacon to warn an approaching ship. The next day, the peripatetic rowboat, as curious a character as the silent bear and boy, brings the voyagers back home. Strikingly evocative of the craggy New England coastline and infused with light%E2%80%94from the sun, moon, and lighthouse%E2%80%94McPhail's quaint, jewel-toned paintings anchor the story. The accessible sentences, early-reader trim size, and slightly mysterious setting and adventure are just right for newly independent readers. Ages 4%E2%80%938. (June)