by Cynthia Rylant
illustrated by Preston McDaniels
Age: 4+ (read to); 6+ (independent reading)
Interests: animals, cats, dogs, mice, ocean, boats, weather
Simon & Schuster: 2003
Next titles in the series: The Whale, The Eagle, The Turtle, The Octopus
Also by this author: Cobble Street Cousins early chapter series, Henry and Mudge series, Missing May, A Fine White Dust
Also by this illustrator: The Squire and the Scroll, The Perfect Snowman
Pandora the cat is used to being alone, living in a lighthouse as she does, but one day a storm washes up a new friend – Seabold the adventurous sailor dog. The two loners grow very fond of each other as Seabold’s broken leg heals, and one day another storm blows in a crate carrying a trio of orphaned mice. A family is born.
This book, and the others in the series that we’ve read, is a truly lovely, gentle story for children who are not fond of extreme thrills and danger in their books. The emphasis is on character, and quiet, daily life at the lighthouse. Pandora is determined and responsible as she maintains the lighthouse and the all-important beacon light. Seabold is independent and daring, but as he convalesces with Pandora he grows to love the life on shore. The central question is this: Will he stay and keep Pandora company, or will he fix his boat and leave?
This is perfect for anyone looking for a charming, lovingly illustrated and thoughtfully written series without villains and death-defying action. Read aloud to preschoolers, or have your beginning reader take it on themselves. (Or read it along with them! You could take turns with pages or chapters if your child is just starting out.) It’s a great beginning chapter book reader, with short, easy chapters and lots of illustrations throughout.