The Lighthouse of Mr. Tinfish by Chris Wardle
(Suggested reading level: Grades 3-6)
Amber and I read this first book in the series together over several evening. The story centers around a colony of animals who live together by the sea. Mind you it takes place after the time of humans, who caused their own extinction by bombs and diseases. The animals have inherited a planet that faces rapid climate changes and the sea level is quickly rising forcing them to find a new home further inland.
The animals are very resourceful, first organizing an expedition led by Mr. Choli, a cat who considers himself the head detective. They find a safe wood and move the colony. It actually turns out to be a move for the better, since although the river dries up over winter, the animals discover an old mine with water and a tunnel to an old town that provides lots of canned fish, instruments, all kinds of goodies. They also help another group escape an uninhabitable island. These new animals are welcomed to the colony’s home.
The animals are great, quirky characters. the two cats like to fish and nap, but are willing to face adventure, if they must. Mr. Vinegar, the walrus, is the self-proclaimed leader of the colony and is a great speech-maker and organizer, but he is a little odd. The Mr. Tinfish of the title is a penguin who has a wife and child. He’s practical, helpful, and in the end, his barrel-lighthouse serves an important purpose.
Amber of course enjoyed the story. She loves animals and talking ones who don’t have to worry about people are wonderful. I liked that the animals all worked together. the difficulties they faced were not each other or other critters, they were environmental factors. The animals, from the largest to the smallest, each have their own gifts and abilities and the all use them for the benefit of the whole community.
The story teaches some good values, but they are well incorporated into the creatures’ exploits. The story’s fun and the writing is relaxed, not heavy-handed at all. Kids who love animals will enjoy this series.
Mr. Tinfish #1
I received my copy from the publicist/author for review and the above is my honest opinion. I am an Amazon associate.