Alfred Lamb's The Abandoned Lighthouse
illustrated by David McPhail
Book review by Kristin Peck
A bear, a boy, and a dog all walk into a lighthouse …
Sort of sounds like the beginning of a corny joke, but add in a mysterious boat, some fishing, and a hurried rescue mission and it becomes a warmly felt, rainy day narrative.
Albert Lamb's The Abandoned Lighthouse is a story about the sudden appearance of a little wooden boat that coaxes its passengers, through unassuming means, to climb aboard and be whisked away into the water.
While initially that sounds a bit creepy, it turns out the wooden boat's purpose in life is helping others by pulling the resources needed in preparation for a foreseeable problematic event.
The first adventurer is a bear that, as many bears do, has a sincere love of fishing and quite a talent for it. He ends up so worn out from his fishing expenditures that he falls asleep in the boat and winds up relocated.
Next is a boy; A little boy playing by himself, on the beach, with a small red ball and a dog as his babysitter. Moving on …
He also falls asleep in the boat after trying to retrieve his ball from its interior, and, instead of climbing back out, finds himself moving along the with the tide and is quickly joined by his dog desperately swimming to catch-up.
All three connect at an abandoned lighthouse without a clue as to why they ended up there or how they are going to get home, since the boat doesn't stick around to allow them to leave. However, the reader discovers that each individual has a purpose for being there, thus the reason the boat carried them to their current location in the first place.
You see, a ship will soon need rescuing from threatening rocks, thanks to the teamwork of the bear, the boy, and the dog to light up the lighthouse and show the ship that it was headed for danger.
The Abandoned Lighthouse ends on a happy note with the ship rescued, and the strange little wooden boat returning everyone to their original locality before heading out to sea for its next mission - leaving this particular boat available for a follow-up story.
If one is looking for a very simply stated tale, this is a book that can be used for quiet time or a quick bedtime read. The pictures are beautifully illustrated and are truly the best part of the book as a whole, as there is a lot of detail to consume in the drawings themselves.
As for the story's text, a great deal of amusement comes from the fact that the only one that seems concerned about their current whereabouts appears to be the dog, and that is due to a storm rather than the fact that he is sleeping in a furnished room with a wild bear.
I will take the top bunk please!
The Abandoned Lighthouse by Albert Lamb is nice to add to the shelves when one is looking for a feel-good ending after a long day's venture.
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