Cover image for The lighthouse family. The whale
The lighthouse family. The whale
Rylant, Cynthia.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, [2003]

Physical Description:
61 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
A family of animals that lives in a lighthouse helps a lost baby beluga whale find his mother.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.8 1.0 72357.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library X Juvenile Fiction Childrens Area
Clarence Library X Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
Collins Library X Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
Dudley Branch Library X Juvenile Fiction Series
Eden Library X Juvenile Fiction Series
Hamburg Library X Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
Crane Branch Library X Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
Eggertsville-Snyder Library J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
Orchard Park Library J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Newbery Medalist Cynthia Rylant brings the peaceful sounds, sights, and characters of the coast vividly to life in the second book of the Lighthouse Family series, in which the family helps reunite a baby beluga whale with its mother.

Pandora, Seabold, Whistler, Lila, and Tiny have all been enjoying the love and comfort that being a family brings. It is a comfort they are unexpectedly reminded of when Whistler and Lila hear the cries of a lonely baby beluga whale named Sebastian. When they learn that he has lost his mama, the Lighthouse Family, with the help of a cranky but noble old cormorant named Huck, does all it can to reunite mother and child.

Author Notes

Cynthia Rylant was born on June 6, 1954 in Hopewell, Virginia. She attended and received degrees at Morris Harvey College, Marshall University, and Kent State University.

Rylant worked as an English professor and at the children's department of a public library, where she first discovered her love of children's literature.

She has written more than 100 children's books in English and Spanish, including works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Her novel Missing May won the 1993 Newbery Medal and A Fine White Dust was a 1987 Newbery Honor book. Rylant wrote A Kindness, Soda Jerk, and A Couple of Kooks and Other Stories, which were named as Best Book for Young Adults. When I was Young in the Mountains and The Relatives Came won the Caldecott Award.

She has many popular picture books series, including Henry and Mudge, Mr. Putter and Tabby and High-Rise Private Eyes. (Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 2-4. In this sequel to Rylant's first Lighthouse family story, The Storm0 (2002), mouse children Lila and Whistler stumble across Sebastian, a lost baby beluga whale pining for his mother. At the suggestion of their own mother, Pandora the lighthouse cat, they enlist the help of Huck, a crotchety cormorant, who flies them over the ocean to locate Sebastian's mother, Honey. Rylant's strength is her creation of appealing characters that appreciate the security of home even as they yearn for adventures within safely defined boundaries. McDaniels' frequent graphite illustrations echo the warmth and coziness of the tale and add to the book's appeal. Rylant's choice of a flowery, formal writing style may be a problem for the intended audience ("Soon they would join their larger family, amid those happy calls with which lost ones are always welcomed home"), but children who appreciate the Beatrix Potter-like language will find this a pleasant first chapter book. --Kay Weisman Copyright 2003 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

In The Whale, the second book in the Lighthouse Family series by Cynthia Rylant, with sepia-toned graphite illustrations by Preston McDaniels, the young mice Whistler and Lila come across a baby beluga whale who has lost his mother. They enlist the help of a cranky old cormorant named Huck to find the whale's mother in this sequel to The Storm, which PW called "a sweet, sea-inspired tale... [that] will keep readers turning the pages." (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 2-4-The Lighthouse family consists of Pandora, the cat; Seabold, the dog; and their adopted mice children, Whistler, Lila, and baby Tiny. In this adventure, Whistler and Lila help to reunite a baby beluga whale with his mother. While the characterizations are first rate and the sense of family harmony is stressed, the story is a bit thin and some of the dialogue seems strained. To help the tiny mice with the rescue, Rylant introduces Huck, the cormorant-"a soggy old bird" with a bad attitude. McDaniels's wonderful black-and-white graphite drawings capture the personalities of each of the animals. The layout and drawings are old-fashioned without being fussy and add needed drama to a somewhat simplistic story.-Barbara Buckley, Rockville Centre Public Library, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Chapter 2: The Whale Whistler and Lila were walking along the rocky shore, happily collecting shells, when from out in the water came a long, sad cry. "What's that?" asked Lila, stopping and looking across the sea. She and Whistler stood very still and listened. There it was again. The saddest, loneliest cry they had ever heard. Whistler scrambled up a tall stick. Lila followed. "Who's there?" called Whistler as loudly as he could (and a small mouse voice is not very loud). "Who's there?" Lila called after him. Most fortunately, most luckily, most wonderful for all, the creature who was crying had very good ears. Up from the water popped a shiny white head. "Me!" the creature called, and began to cry. "My goodness!" said Lila. "It's a baby whale!" And indeed it was. A baby beluga whale, in fact. And, oh, how it could cry. "We'll be right there!" shouted Whistler. "Don't move!" And within minutes the two children had run for their small boat (built for them by Seabold) and were rowing out to the whale. When they finally reached him, the baby beluga was quite exhausted. Too exhausted even to cry anymore. He simply looked at them with frantic, frightened eyes. "I've lost my mother," he whimpered. "Oh, dear!" said Lila in distress. Being an orphan, Lila was very sensitive to babies with lost mothers. "Where did you lose her?" asked Whistler. The beluga looked as if he might start crying again. But he didn't. "Somewhere," he said. "We were swimming and a big pod of humpbacks came through, and there were so many, and I saw a baby I thought I could play with and I followed him and then...and then..." The baby whale sobbed. "Then the humpbacks swam away all of a sudden and I was by myself." "Oh, dear," said Lila. The little whale floated silently. He was looking most tragic. The two mouse children gazed at him with deepest sympathy. Suddenly Whistler declared, "We will find your mother!" Lila looked at him in surprise. The beluga's eyes brightened. "Really?" he said. "You can find her?" "Definitely. We are experts at finding lost mothers," Whistler fibbed. Lila looked at him in even greater surprise. "Here's what I want you to do," Whistler said to the baby. "Oh, by the way -- what is your name?" "Sebastian," said the whale. Whistler introduced himself and Lila. "Very happy to meet you," said the well-mannered, tear-soaked beluga. Whistler resumed. "Here's what I want you to do," he said. "Do you see that lagoon over there?" The baby nodded his head. "I want you to go over there and rest," said Whistler. "It's quite nice, the water is warm, and sometimes an otter comes along with a good story." The whale nodded again. "All right," he said. "What is your mother's name?" Whistler asked. "Mama," said the whale. "No, no," said Lila. "He means her real name." "Oh," said the baby. "Everybody calls her Honey." "Honey?" repeated Lila. "What a nice name." "She's a nice mama," said the beluga. "Now you go over to the lagoon and wait for us, all right?" said Whistler. "All right," answered Sebastian. "I'm a little sleepy anyway." "Of course you are," said Lila. "See you soon," said Whistler. "Don't worry." As they watched the baby beluga swim toward the lagoon, Lila whispered to Whistler, "And just how are we going to find that mama whale?" Whistler whispered back, "I have no idea." Then he looked squarely at Lila. "But we are going to do it!" Text copyright © 2003 by Cynthia Rylant Illustration copyright © 2003 by Preston McDaniels Excerpted from The Whale by Cynthia Rylant All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

1. The Familyp. 6
2. The Whalep. 16
3. Some Helpp. 24
4. Some Companyp. 34
5. The Motherp. 42
6. A Friend Foreverp. 54

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