School Library Journal - Ghost Cat
School Library Journal (Aug 2017)
Although no longer living, Sailor Boy, an opaque ghost cat, rendered in pen-and-ink, hasn’t left his owner’s side. This title is set in the 19th century, in a lighthouse in Port Carrick, Ireland. Miss Maggie McCullen and her faithful cat light the beacon each night to keep sailors safe on the hazardous coastline. Sailor Boy leads this clear, matter-of-fact first-person narrative, explaining that although a ghost, he retains his earthly shape and body but can choose to be invisible whenever he pleases. Sailor Boy teases lighthouse visitors with his haunting purrs and unseen pawings. One night, while Miss Maggie’s niece Cissie is visiting, Miss Maggie injures her ankle as she’s walking up the steps to illuminate the lamp of the lighthouse. It’s up to Sailor Boy, previously unknown by Maggie’s niece, to graciously show Cissie how to light the great warning beam. The charming text, paired with Barry’s gothic watercolor and ink illustrations, has a playfulness that may intrigue readers rather than spook them. An appended author’s note provides a brief history of lighthouses and their importance. VERDICT Certainly not a ghost story, this selection may work best paired with other lighthouse picture books and nonfiction titles on the subject. An additional purchase.