CM . . .
. Volume XXIII Number 3. . . .September 23, 2016
During my childhood, I visited the rocky cliffs of Twillingate, Newfoundland and Labrador. My family didnít vacation often so, when we spent a week in Central Newfoundland, I was excited. While in Twillingate, we walked a long trail and reached the lighthouse. The ostentatious red lighthouse stuck out like a sore thumb. However, I realized the importance of the lighthouse in rural Newfoundland. My dad was a fisherman, and the lighthouse helped him get to shore many times when the fog was thick and the winds were high.
Northís story of picnicking near Newfoundland lighthouses brought me back to my visit to the lighthouse. The young boy Patrick and his father pack up for the day and head to the lighthouse. Along the way, Patrick tells his dad how much he loves various things: the lighthouse, the lemonade, whales and chocolate cake. On the way home, Patrick falls asleep, and his dad tells him that he loves him.
A Picnic at the Lighthouse will pull on your heartstrings. While the author tells a tale of a young boy who is enjoying a beautiful summerís day with his father, the story covers themes bigger than this. The unconditional love Patrickís father has for his son becomes apparent. There are many childrenís books that clearly define maternal love, but paternal love is not discussed as often. The message of a fatherís love in childrenís literature is one that should become a bigger part of the discourse.
Keatingís work is not to be overlooked. Her images give this book a deeper substance and transport readers to scenic views in Newfoundland and Labrador. She is very detailed in her work. For example, every feature can be seen on the seagull, and, when displaying parts of the community, she paints saltbox houses trimmed in vivid colours.
Though local in scope, A Picnic at the Lighthouse can be enjoyed by children regardless of location. This book will contribute greatly to story times in the library, classroom or at home.
Courtney Penney is the Regional Librarian for Central Division with Newfoundland and Labrador Public Libraries. She lives in Gander, NL.
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