Monday, June 30, 2008

The Storm and The Whale...random thoughts

The Storm and The Whale by Cynthia Rylant.

Since I'd like to get caught up on my reviews before we head out of town Wednesday morning, I'm going to try to keep these short and sweet. Anyway, months ago, when I was choosing authors and books for Becky's Celebrate the Author Challenge, I hadn't read anything by Cynthia Rylant. But I knew she was a well-loved children's author, so I thought she would make a nice choice. I went to the library's website, and picked the first book that caught my eye, The Octopus. What I didn't realize at the time, was that it was a part of series. So this month, when I went to the library to pick it up, I discovered my error and picked up the first and second book of The Lighthouse Family instead. (The Octopus is the fifth one, I believe.)

This series features an unusual family...Pandora, the cat, Seabold, the dog, and three little mice, Lila, Whistler, and Tiny. As the series begins, Pandora was long been the keeper of a lighthouse. It's quite a lonely existence, but one she feels called to. Seabold has long been a sailor, one who enjoys his solitary existence at sea. So when he crashes on the island where Pandora lives, he plans to head back to sea as soon as his leg heals and his boat is repaired. As Pandora nurses him back to health, and they develop a beautiful friendship. It becomes apparent that he can't repair his boat in time to be off before the winter weather sets in, so he reluctantly accepts the fact that he'll be staying until spring. Pandora and Seabold's friendship continues to deepen. And Seabold finds himself admiring Pandora greatly for her hard work and dedication to keeping sailors safe through her manning of the lighthouse.

Months later, they spot a crate floating offshore, and something tells them they should go check it out. And what should they find but three young orphaned mice. Easy to see where this is all going, right? Yep, the five soon become their own little family, and Seabold gives up his dreams of sailing the seas again.

In The Whale, the mice children find a baby beluga whale who has been separated from his mother. The book tells the tale of how the children save the day for mother and baby whale.

At this point, we've decided not to continue with the series. Not because they're bad, but just because there are so many other books out there that we'd like to try. Max enjoyed these much more than Gray. I think that maybe they are just a bit to young for him now. As for me, I thought they were okay. The stories were cute, but nothing spectacular.

What was spectacular, however, was the artwork! Oh, how I adore the beautiful pencil drawings by Preston McDaniels! I couldn't find any examples from this series on the internet to post here, and I'm afraid I've already returned the books to the library. But I did find another drawing of his, that really exemplifies the charm and beauty I fell in love with in his work. In fact, I think I'll now be searching this book out!


If you have reviewed this series, feel free to leave a link in the comments and I'll include it here. Thanks.


Read for:

Celebrate the Author Reading Challenge.

Read-aloud to the boys.


Nymeth said...

"At this point, we've decided not to continue with the series. Not because they're bad, but just because there are so many other books out there that we'd like to try."

I know the feeling well!

gail@more than a song said...

Now where are you going? Vacation or something like that?

Dawn said...

They sound like sweet books! You are right, the art work is beautiful!

take care,

Anonymous said...

oh, the art for the perfect snowman is beautiful! i agree, i also love that style of drawing!