Hello…hello…hello… The light from the lighthouse shines across the sea, greeting ships and sailors. Making sure all know it is there. But a lighthouse needs to be looked after. Who does that? What would life be like in a lighthouse? In summer it could be nice; what about winter or when it is foggy? In this picture book by American illustrator, Sophie Blackall, we are introduced to the life of the lighthouse keeper aimed at a young readership. Here are no technical details; the setting is domestic and we watch the keeper going about his tasks through round porthole-like windows on the page. The colour palette is aqueous – the sea is everywhere, perspectives vertiginous as we scurry up and down the stairs. There is a gentle rhythm to the text as we follow the round of seasons – the excitement of a storm (waves reminiscent of a Japanese print), the cold of a frozen sea (this is an American lighthouse), the repeated ‘Hello’, then finally, the goodbye, as the lighthouse mechanism is automated.
This is an enjoyable introduction to a lighthouse that could be just that, a picture book opening the door to this world, raising a question or two but no more. However the author-illustrator includes an afterword expanding the text, adding further facts and amusing anecdotes which add a bit more substance to the whole and extending its potential.