What is this book about?
When her family moves to a tiny and desolate island off the coast of Maine, Birdie watches her father, the light-keeper, closely as he tends the lights. But one stormy night, her father is taken ill, and only Birdie knows how to keep the lighthouse’s strong beam running. Will she be brave enough to guide the boats safely into harbor?
“The small details of this excellently written and researched tale, such as how the lamps were tended, the need to make sure they never go out, and the descriptions of the family’s life on the island, make this story come to life. An author’s note explains that it is based on the lives of actual lighthouse heroines. The detailed watercolor and pen-and-ink illustrations are a perfect match for the narrative. They depict each period detail with clarity and lend atmosphere to Birdie’s adventure, capturing the dark hues of the sea and the stark Maine landscapes and interiors. A shining bit of historical fiction for elementary audiences.” (School Library Journal)
“Inspired by stories of real 19th-century lighthouse heroines, this atmospheric book uses a diary format to shape a portrait of a brave and likable girl. The accomplished art underscores the immediacy of the narrative.” (Publishers Weekly)
author, Deborah Hopkinson
illustrator, Kimberly Bulcken Root
Anne Schwartz / Atheneum
ages 4 and up, 1997