BookPage Children's Top Pick, April 2018
“On the highest rock of a tiny island at the edge of the world stands a lighthouse.” Thus opens Sophie Blackall’s exquisite new picture book, Hello Lighthouse, a song of praise dedicated to lighthouses, love and finding your way in the dark.
A bearded lighthouse keeper carefully tends to the structure and its internal workings. But he’s lonely, so he faithfully writes to his love and throws his bottled letters into the rocky waves. Later, his wife arrives at the little lighthouse by ship, and readers watch as their lives unfold and their family grows.
Blackall’s text, capturing years but never rushed, flows rhythmically like so many ocean waves lapping the rocks. Design choices, including the trim size, cover art, dust-jacket art and title font, contribute to this book’s tender and reverent tone. An informative note on the closing endpapers pays tribute to the work of keepers. The rich colors and calming repeated patterns, playful perspectives (many of them aerial) and textured, precise details of Blackall’s illustrations (how she captures movement in the ocean waves) make this one of the most dazzling picture books you’ll see this year.
Julie Danielson features authors and illustrators at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast, a children’s literature blog.
This article was originally published in the April 2018 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.