Friday, 22 February 2019

ReadItDaddy's Picture Book of the Week - Week Ending 22nd February 2019: "Hello Lighthouse" by Sophie Blackall (Orchard Books)

When I was a kid, I was mildly obsessed with lighthouses. Many family holidays to the Isle of Wight, and visiting the amazing lighthouse at The Needles - and the one at the end of Portland in Dorset cemented my love of these amazing buildings with their vital role to play.

I still dream of living in one.

In our first Picture Book of the Week this week, the sublime "Hello Lighthouse" by Sophie Blackall you will meet one such family who live in a tall lighthouse in the middle of tempestuous seas.

From dusk to dawn, the lighthouse beams, sending its light out to sea, guiding the ships on their way. A lighthouse keeper primes the wick and keeps the lamp burning all night, winding the clockwork mechanism to keep the light turning. As the seasons pass and the waves rise and fall, outside, the wind blows; inside, the lighthouse keeper writes, and the rhythms of his life unfold.

Soon he is joined by his wife, and eventually their baby daughter is born, all within the circular confines of the lighthouse's sturdy walls. Life is good.

But change is on the horizon...and an all too familiar tale begins to unwind as the Lighthouse keeper realises that his way of life is becoming increasingly rare. Times are changing, and with them technology is changing too. So will there be a place in the modern world for his vital role?

Sophie's book is quite dream-like, feeling instantly like a classic children's story in the making, the sort of book we always clamour about on the blog as harking back to that golden age of children's books where characters had a role to play, a sense of purpose - and weren't just there to be the conduit for whatever the book's simple message is. 

In this case there is a message of hope tucked into the pages of this utterly gorgeous story - that despite the march of technology, and the way the world is changing rapidly, there is still time for those 'human' moments to contemplate our lives, our loved ones and the sheer beauty of our world - and it's one we could all do with hearing at the moment too.

Really wonderful stuff, this. 

Sum this book up in a sentence: A beautiful, classic-feeling simple story of the passage of time and how people are affected by it, luxuriously illustrated and woven with exquisite skill by Sophie. 

"Hello Lighthouse" by Sophie Blackall is out now, published by Orchard Books (kindly supplied for review).