The Holiday Spirit Reaches Even the Furthest Outposts
Story by Toni Buzzeo, pictures by Nancy Carpenter
Some Christmas picture books have a quiet and soothing appeal. I think it comes from the combination of a wonderful story resonating on many levels coupled perfectly with pictures that help its beauty to be fully realized. Lighthouse Christmas is such a book.
Somehow I feel I was drawn to this book because I live in a house that is near a house with a lighthouse attached. Lighthouses have a practical importance to the seafarer and their isolation provides a wonderful backdrop for a Christmas story. Added here is the interweaving of the interesting tradition of the Flying Santa Service.
In Lighthouse Christmas, with the holiday approaching, Frances and her younger brother Peter have recently relocated with their father to a tiny lighthouse island off the coast of Maine following the passing of their mother. As the keeper of the Ledge Light tower, their father is a busy man. Too busy perhaps to observe the loneliness of the patient and practical Frances and her eager, upbeat and hope filled brother Peter.
“Will Christmas come to this island too?” Peter asked.
“I s’pose it will,” said Frances.
“Good. I want Christmas,” Peter said.
The answer to Frances’ thoughtful question of why people have to live in lonely places like Ledge Light echoes throughout the telling of this touching Christmas story.
Sometime trips off island to perfect Christmas celebrations at Aunt Martha’s, filled with the familiar cookies, singing and presents, can go off course because of the unexpected. The unexpected can come in the form of freak storms, upended fishing boats which need rescuing and a light that must be tended in order for lives to be saved.
Will Santa find Frances and Peter on Ledge Light? You can be assured everyone will be found and find a home in Lighthouse Christmas. Even the calico one-eared cat will be allowed in and receive a gift!
This nostalgic tale of what truly is meaningful and what binds a family and strangers together on a stormy Christmas Eve highlights Lighthouse Christmas as a perfect story to be shared on a snowy wintry night with everyone gathered round. The drawings of this lighthouse lifestyle make you care about its inhabitants and their love of family and loyalty to the service that binds them. Amid hardship and the shifting unpredictability of an imperfect holiday, what really matters comes into clearer focus and it will for your family as well. Adaptability to life’s adversity and the resilience to rejoice in the small moments illuminates the quiet beauty of Lighthouse Christmas.
In the Author’s Note, your children will discover the wonderful tradition begun in 1929 of the Flying Santa Service. Launched by one pilot named William Wincapaw, it honored the many lighthouse keepers and their families in isolated islands on Penobscot Bay, Maine. Delivering small packages of necessities and luxuries dropped from a plane, it was Santa minus the sled, delivering continuously for every year but 1941-1944 – the war years. Since that time it’s tradition has grown with other pilots joining Mr. Wincapaw and now visiting Coast Guard families.
If you and your children want to learn more about the Flying Santa Service, visit www.flyingsanta.com.