________________ CM . . . . Volume V Number 7 . . . . November 27, 1998

cover The Lighhouse Dog.

Betty Waterton. Illustrated by Dean Griffiths.
Victoria, BC: Orca Books, 1997.
32 pp., cloth, $15.95.
ISBN 1-55143-073-8.

Subject Headings:
Newfoundland dog-Juvenile fiction.
Lighthouses-Juvenile fiction.
Rescues-Juvenile fiction.

Preschool - grade 2 / Ages 3 - 7.
Review by Lesley Balcom.

*** /4


One day the captain's wife put her town hat on her head, her town shoes on her feet and her shopping bag over her arm.

"Today is market day in town, and I'm going to get a puppy," she told her husband. "My friend Flossie is going to help me choose it, and oh, I can hardly wait!"

image Molly is not the dog the captain has in mind when his wife heads off to town in a small rowboat to find a puppy. He expects her to return to their lighthouse with a small dog and a large pizza, but she arrives with an enormous Molly and only crumbs and olives left from his Super-Duper-Special-Deluxe salami pizza. Things go from bad to worse for the captain. Molly, "almost a real Newfoundland," greets the captain by knocking him over; she deposits the cat in the rowboat and dumps out the cat food, eats the hat of the captain's wife and buries her shoes. When she eats the whole Thanksgiving dinner, the captain decides that Molly must go back to town.

      Molly redeems herself in the nick of time. A storm starts to brew the day Molly is to be returned, and it reaches its peak three days later when the captain tries to rescue someone calling for help. It is Molly who does the rescuing when the captain cannot start his boat. She swims out into the crashing sea and returns with a fisherman clinging to her wet fur.

      Molly's rescue of the fisherman is dramatic and exciting but is diminished for this reviewer by the unlikelihood of the rescue in the first place. Surely a fisherman's calls for help at sea would not be heard over howling wind and crashing waves in the closed lighthouse.

      The story's satisfying conclusion has Molly receiving a medal from the town's mayor.

      The success of The Lighthouse Dog is due in large part to the warmth and detail in Dean Griffith's illustrations. The slobbering Molly and the eccentric captain and his wife are brought to life by Griffith. Children will enjoy this story of a silly, yet heroic, dog and the trouble she causes at the lighthouse.


Review by Lesley Balcom.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364