The Storm

The Storm


Readability Age Range



Year Published

Book Review

In The Storm by Cynthia Rylant, Pandora the cat is a devoted but sad lighthouse keeper, who finds a dog and mice to care for. It is the first book in the “Lighthouse Family” series.

Plot Summary

When Pandora the cat was young, a ship on which she and her father sailed was nearly lost in a storm. They were saved when the beam from a lighthouse guided them to shore. Pandora was so inspired by this incident that she became a lighthouse keeper. Now, after four years by herself on an island, she feels lonely. She remains devoted to her mission of saving lives but often can’t tell if her work is helping anyone.

Seabold the dog has sailed the world alone for the past five years. When a storm washes him up on Pandora’s shore, she nurses him back to health. He’s amazed by her ability to use plants as medicine and impressed by her passion for saving lives.

Seabold’s boat is badly damaged, as is one of his legs, so he stays on with Pandora for months. They enjoy each other’s company and become good friends. The more Seabold sees Pandora at work in the lighthouse, the more impressed he is with her desire to serve a purpose in the world.

One windy spring day, Pandora and Seabold see a crate floating in the distant sea. Convinced there is life inside, Seabold hops in his partially-repaired boat and sails out to it. He finds three weak young mice huddled together and brings them back to the island.

The two older mice introduce themselves as Lila and Whistler. Their baby sister, Tiny, is ill. Pandora rushes off to get leaves for medicine while Seabold follows her instructions about caring for the baby. He distracts the concerned siblings with a game and learns how the children ran away from an orphanage that wanted to separate them.

Seabold realizes being with Pandora and the mice makes him happier than he’s ever been. He decides to stay at the lighthouse with his new family. Pandora’s herbs cure Tiny, and the lighthouse keeper happily takes on the role of mother.

Christian Beliefs


Other Belief Systems


Authority Roles

Pandora and Seabold lovingly nurse a baby mouse back to health and adopt the orphaned mice.

Profanity & Violence


Sexual Content

None (Note: Pandora and Seabold take on the position of parents to the mice but at the end, the book makes it clear that each night, Seabold and Pandora say goodnight and go to their own warm beds.)

Discussion Topics

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Additional Comments

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Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book’s review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

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