The Lighthouse Family series of books was among the first that I reviewed when I started my blog in August of 2008. As much as I loved the books, I reviewed them a bit reluctantly because they weren't all in paperback at the time and it seemed as though they might go out of print, even though Cynthia Rylant (Henry and Mudge, Mr Putter and Tabby, Missing May)is the winner of multiple Newbery and Caldecott awards and honors. However, I was THRILLED to see a copy of The Eagle show up on my cart of books to be shelved the other day and, after a quick check to make sure the series is still all in print and in paperback, I decided to re-post the review.
Cynthia Rylant's experience and skill show in her series The Lighthouse Family Series. Despite being only 57 pages, a good number of which have illustrations, often full page, Rylant creates a detailed world, rich with images and vocabulary that is also gentle and slow paced. While these books all have exciting events in them, the suspense level is low and the quiet care and concern that the parental figures in the story provide is cozy and complete. Preston McDaniels' warm, cloud-like illustrations enrich the writing wonderfully. The Lighthouse Family series and the Catwings Quartet by Ursula le Guin make up two of the most imaginative, well written, beautifully illustrated sets of books written at this reading level (which is high first grade) that I have encountered.