Nostalgic ‘Lighthouse Christmas’ celebrates holiday spirit

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“LIGHTHOUSE CHRISTMAS,” by Toni Buzzeo, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter, Dial, October 13, 2011, $16.99 (ages 5 and up)

Frances and her family have recently moved to a remotely located lighthouse for her father’s work as lighthouse keeper.  While Frances’ younger brother Peter is primarily concerned that Santa will not find them in their new home, motherless Frances is left with ironing out the difficult details of putting together any Christmas at all, due to weather-delayed supply boats.

When a new winter storm threatens a boat in the harbor, Frances realizes not only how important her father’s work is, but also how important she is as a member of the lighthouse family.

A longer tale for older readers, Toni Buzzeo’s well-worded story matches the slow and steady feel of the lighthouse life described. Realistic, detailed illustrations create a world from the past for the reader to enjoy. Old-fashioned clothes, radios, toys and furniture contribute a nostalgic ambiance to the full-page illustrations. Frances and her family are pictured at work and at play in the quiet world of their lighthouse. The lonely yet idyllic scenes pull the reader firmly into Frances’ lighthouse world.

Incorporating historical events, and celebrating how the sacrifices of the few make life happy and safe for the many, “Lighthouse Christmas” tells a real-life story of the Christmas spirit.

***This guest review is by Jamie Wood, a mother of three who enjoys brainwashing her children to read as many books as they can in one day. She does this by sitting on the couch and telling them she can’t talk now because she’s reading a book. So far all has gone well, and they are happily enjoying reading time together.

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