by Sophie Blackall
On the highest rock of a tiny island
at the edge of the world stands a lighthouse.
It is built to last forever.
Sending its light out to sea,
guiding the ships on their way.
From dusk to dawn, the lighthouse beams,
. . . Hello!
. . .Hello!
So begins Hello Lighthouse by Sophie Blackall, the story of the life cycle of a lighthouse and its last keeper. Starting with the arrival of a new keeper, the lighthouse weathers it all. Blankets of fog, carpets of ice (and three friendly seals!), as well as the arrival of the keeper’s wife alongside the tender bringing pork and beans. In stormy weather and peaceful weather, the lighthouse beams hello, especially with the birth of a new baby.
Life goes on inside and outside the lighthouse, and after a few years, the keeper receives a letter with the news that a new light will be installed. A light without a lamp or a wick--a lighthouse without a keeper. And so as the story ends, so too, does the keeper’s time at the lighthouse. But it is a new beginning for both the little family and the lighthouse, and the lighthouse continues to beam its light out into the world, calling, “Hello! Hello! Hello!”
Sophie Blackall’s beautiful ink and watercolor illustrations give the book a timeless feel. Her circular imagery repeated throughout the book, emphasizing the cycle of life, the passage of time, of beginnings and endings, is particularly well done. Hello Lighthouse joins a canon of classic books such as Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney, The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton, or The Little Island by Margaret Wise Brown. With each reading of the book, the reader will discover a new detail in Blackall’s illustrations, and always, there is a feeling of home that pervades her stories and her art, and Hello Lighthouse is no exception.