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There are a whole series of stories about Mr. and Mrs. Grinling, the lighthouse keepers. These are, much in the tradition of say, the Katie Morag stories, quite gentle stories in which not very much happens, but what does happen, happens in such a charming way that you cannot help but be drawn into the stories.

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In recent years the books have undergone something of a makeover, being shrunk in size from the traditional, large picture book format, to A5 size, just right for a child’s hands to hold. They are also more in line with chapter/transitional books, and can be used as such without children thinking they’re being babied.  The Lighthouse Keeper’s New Friend by Ronda and David Armitage is one of the few in the series I hadn’t read before. It was delightful.

Mr. Grinling is desperate to find a mermaid. His wife wants him out from under her feet. She is catering for the lighthouse keeper’s assistant’s wedding, so she sends him out to look for one. Mr. Grinling is out at sea when he spots something golden and hairy on a rock. Could it be a mermaid?

It isn’t. It is something better than that, and this is a rather heartwarming story about a lost dog who ends up with two homes and two people who love him dearly.  There are lovely touches of humour. The talking seagulls feature in all the books and are always fun, and the illustrations, as ever, bring the whole thing to glorious life.

A lovely story book you can share with very young children, but with enough challenging words and a complex enough story to use to help older children read. Recommended to help struggling readers up to age ten.

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