Lighthouse Christmas

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Overview

From the author of the 2013 Caldecott Honor Book, ONE COOL FRIEND!

Frances is determined to make Christmas jolly for her younger brother, even if it means joining family on the mainland and leaving Papa behind on their isolated lighthouse island. After all, would Santa even know how to find them in this faraway spot? But when Christmas Eve is ushered in on a wild storm and Papa risks his life to rescue a drowning man, the children realize that ...

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Overview

From the author of the 2013 Caldecott Honor Book, ONE COOL FRIEND!

Frances is determined to make Christmas jolly for her younger brother, even if it means joining family on the mainland and leaving Papa behind on their isolated lighthouse island. After all, would Santa even know how to find them in this faraway spot? But when Christmas Eve is ushered in on a wild storm and Papa risks his life to rescue a drowning man, the children realize that the most important thing about the holiday is being together.

As in all great Christmas stories, a happy ending is in store, and Santa finds them after all. Cozy and nostalgic, this story was inspired by the Flying Santa program, a New England tradition since 1929. It's the perfect book for a family to read together in front of the fire on Christmas morning.
 

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Does Santa visit lighthouse keepers and their families living on isolated islands? According to this hopeful picture book (and its author’s note) the Flying Santa Service has made sure of it, since 1929. Hard times and bad weather threaten to keep Christmas at bay for Frances and her brother, Peter, who have just moved with their widower father to an island lighthouse. But intrepid spirits, a one-eared cat, and an air-dropped surprise parcel come together to create a happy holiday for the family. Mixed-media spreads filled with homespun period accents spark the poignant story. Ages 5–8. (Oct.)
Horn Book
“Readers looking for a feel-good holiday story will find one here.”
Bulletin of the Center for Childrens Books
“The telling is smooth and engaging, and Carpenter’s mixed media pictures set the appropriate mood.”
From the Publisher
* “There’s a charmingly nostalgic feel both to the story and to the illustrations, which convey a sense of time and place and are very appealing.” — School Library Journal, starred review

“Readers looking for a feel-good holiday story will find one here.” — Horn Book

“Mixed-media spreads filled with homespun period accents spark the poignant story.” — Publishers Weekly

“A gentle but dramatic story of an earlier time.” — Kirkus

“The telling is smooth and engaging, and Carpenter’s mixed media pictures set the appropriate mood.” — Bulletin of the Center for Childrens Books

Children's Literature - Emily Griffin
Frances and Peter live on a quiet island, in the lighthouse where their dad now works. After their mom died in the spring, they moved from the mainland and are getting ready to celebrate their first Christmas in their new home. But the siblings are worried that Santa will not know they have moved. The night before the children are supposed to head to the mainland by the supply boat, to celebrate the holiday with their aunt, leaving their dad at home, there is a big, windy storm. Mr. Dunlap, in a small boat, gets caught in the storm. Frances keeps the light in the lighthouse going while her dad goes out to bring in Mr. Dunlap. They all spend Christmas together, thanks to a plane's delivery of much-needed gifts (coffee, tea, sugar, crayons, toys, and books). This old fashioned story which shows a family coming together and helping others during tough times is partially based on a true event. An author's note following the story explains that on Christmas Day in 1929 a pilot named William Wincapaw began the Flying Santa Service. He flew around the Penobscot Bay area in Maine, dropping off packages to the residents. Over the years this service has expanded and is still active today. A traditional-style and beautifully illustrated story that would make an excellent read-aloud for families during the holidays, especially for attentive listeners. Reviewer: Emily Griffin
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3—Frances and her little brother wonder whether Santa will know how to find them on their tiny lighthouse island in Maine. Bad weather has kept the supply boat away, and there's nothing to eat but beans and oatmeal. To their amazement, an airplane flies over the island, dropping a sack filled with gifts and food from the Flying Santa. There's a charmingly nostalgic feel both to the story and to the illustrations, which convey a sense of time and place and are very appealing. An author's note gives a brief history of the Flying Santa Service, which was created in 1929 and continues to this day delivering treats to Coast Guard families. A lovely tradition and a lovely book.—Mara Alpert, Los Angeles Public Library
Kirkus Reviews

A girl and her little brother spend a Depression-era Christmas on an island off the coast of Maine with their recently widowed father in this nostalgic, touching story of how Christmas surprises can arrive in amazing ways.

Frances and her little brother Peter face a bleak holiday on the island as their supplies dwindle before Christmas. Due to stormy weather, supply boats can't come in, and Frances and Peter can't leave the island to visit their aunt as they had planned. During a fierce storm, their father rescues a man from his boat as Frances keeps the light in the lighthouse lit. With their new visitor, they plan a simple Christmas celebration, with a pine branch as their tree and tiny, homemade presents. Just in time for Christmas, a small plane drops off a care package with food, toys and books from the Flying Santa (a Maine tradition from 1929 to the present). The quietly told, longish story and softly shaded illustrations evoke their spare, lonely life in the lighthouse and shows the love between sister and brother and parent and child.

A gentle but dramatic story of an earlier time, when just one care package could make a happy Christmas for an entire family. (author's note)(Picture book. 5-9)

Bruce Handy
…Toni Buzzeo's text homes in on just the right details to keep her narrative grounded in both physical and emotional reality. Equally restrained yet full of feeling [are] Nancy Carpenter's illustrations, a mixture of pen and ink and watercolor…
—The New York Times Book Review
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803730533
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication date: 10/13/2011
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.50 (w) x 8.70 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Toni Buzzeo

Adventure Annie Goes to Kindergarten, The Sea Chest, and the Caldecott Honor winner One Cool Friend. She and her husband, Ken, divide their time between Sarasota, Florida and Buxton, Maine.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 10, 2011

    Christmas Book - ages 3 - 103!

    Lighthouse Christmas, written by Toni Buzzeo and illustrated by Nancy Carpenter, is an uplifting story of courage, compassion, and sacrifice. The story reflects the perils and joys of lighthouse keeper families in providing safe travel to others crossing our mighty waters.

    The Christmas countdown is on! This story recounts an unforgettable Christmas for little Peter; his older sister, Frances; their papa; and an affectionate one-eared cat. The family has recently transferred to a remote island lighthouse after the mother's passing. Frances has begun to fill her mother's shoes. She lovingly tends to the every need of her energetic, younger brother as Mama would have wished.

    Little did the family expect an oncoming nor'easter storm for their first Christmas on the island. What excitement and unknowing surprises await them in the face of this dangerous storm? Will Christmas come to their lonely island?

    Lighthouse Christmas is a sensory story of excellence. The reader will hear the creak, crack sounds of an old house, taste the memory of buttery sugar cookies, smell the freshness of the ornament-laden pine bough, see the lights flicker in the lighthouse tower, and feel the bone chilling waters surrounding the ledges of their island.

    This Christmas story is a great read for all ages. A fascinating, brave time period in history awaits the reader. There is opportunity to learn more about lighthouse keepers and helpers. Explore the meanings of the larder, to radio, dory and gunnels, to moor, slickers and sou'westers, parlor, and nor'easters.

    The Ledge Light Family discovers many valuable economic lessons throughout the story. They learn the true meaning of giving, conserving, re-gifting, accepting daily chores and tasks goodheartedly, and protecting their environment. The children even cut a bough to decorate for Christmas--and save a tree! In a sense, Lighthouse Christmas is a very "go green" story! The words of the story are tender and the pictures are beautifully sketched and drenched in warmth!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 1, 2012

    Sweet Christmas story

    I bought this for my 8 year old grandson. He read it on Christmas Eve. We both enjoyed it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2011

    Great Holiday Story--Value of Family

    This story is about the value & strength of Family during times of hardship, at the holidays, and, really, at all times. Enjoyed learning about the Flying Santas that serve the Lighthouse families, a real program. Recommend it for mid elementary and older kids & adults, especially one who like books based on real-life stories.

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