Skip to Main Content

The Storm

Illustrated by Preston McDaniels



About The Book

Newbery Medalist Cynthia Rylant brings the peaceful sounds, sights, and characters of the coast vividly to life in the first book of the Lighthouse Family series, in which Pandora and Seabold discover what it means to be part of a family.

Life with just the sea can be lonely. Just ask Pandora or Seabold. They’ve lived most of their lives with the sea, and they’re quite used to being alone. Or they were. But one extraordinary day, the same sea that brought Pandora and Seabold together gives them the ingredients for an adventure that neither of them had considered before—an adventure called “family.”



In a lonely lighthouse, far from city and town, far from the comfort of friends, lived a kindhearted cat named Pandora.

She had been living at this lighthouse all alone for four long years, and it was beginning to wear. She found herself sighing long, deep, lonely sighs. She sat on the rocks overlooking the waves far too long. Sometimes her nose got a sunburn.

And at night, when she tried to read by the lantern light, her mind wandered and she would think for hours on her childhood when she had friends and company.

Why did Pandora accept this lonely lighthouse life?

Because a lighthouse had once saved her.

When Pandora was but a kitten, she and her father had gone sailing aboard a grand schooner, bound for a new country. Pandora’s mother had stayed behind, with the baby, to join them later.

And while they were at sea, Pandora and her father were shaken from their beds one night by an awful twisting of the ship’s great bow.

“Stay here, Pandora!” her father had commanded. “Stay here and wait until I come for you!”

They were in a terrible storm. The wind was howling, and the waves crashed hard upon them. Worse, a deep fog had spread itself all over the water, and it is fog that will bring a ship to its end. Fog that will blind a sailor’s eyes until his ship has hit the jagged shore and torn itself to pieces.

Pandora’s father knew this as he strained with the others to keep the ship’s sails aloft and his daughter trembled in her bed. He knew what somber danger they were in.

But Pandora’s father was a brave cat and he would not give up hope. He would hold tight to the riggings with the others until help, in whatever form, might come to them.

In time, the winds began to settle and the waves grew smaller. But the dense fog refused to lift.

The ship’s captain was clearly worried. For he knew these waters they sailed in. He knew the long history of ships gone down.

And he carried little hope that help might come to them, that someone might lead them away from the deadly shore. For only a lighthouse might show them the way, and there had been no working light on these waters for a hundred years.

So it was with much bewilderment, and amazement, and overwhelming joy that he heard, first, the deep, clear sound of a foghorn, then saw before him a light. Yes, a light! And it was not the light of another ship or small boat. Only a very powerful lamp could make itself seen through a fog like this. Only the lamp of a lighthouse.

“Pull leeward!” cried the captain. “Away from the light!”

About The Author

Photograph courtesy of the author

Cynthia Rylant is the author of more than 100 books for young people, including the beloved Henry and Mudge, Annie and Snowball, Brownie & Pearl, Motor Mouse, and Mr. Putter & Tabby series. Her novel Missing May received the Newbery Medal. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

About The Illustrator

Preston McDaniels is the illustrator of the Phineas L. MacGuire series and Cynthia Rylant’s Lighthouse Family series. He lives in Aurora, Nebraska, with his wife and two daughters.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Beach Lane Books (September 1, 2002)
  • Length: 80 pages
  • ISBN13: 9780689848803
  • Grades: 1 - 5
  • Ages: 6 - 10
  • Lexile ® 730L The Lexile reading levels have been certified by the Lexile developer, MetaMetrics®
  • Fountas & Pinnell™ O These books have been officially leveled by using the F&P Text Level Gradient™ Leveling System

Browse Related Books

Resources and Downloads

Common Core Text Exemplar

High Resolution Images

More books from this author: Cynthia Rylant

More books from this illustrator: Preston McDaniels

More books in this series: Lighthouse Family