The Lighthouse Family: The Storm by Cynthia Rylant is the first story in the popular series. The book introduces how the beloved Lighthouse Family came to be. Readers will fall in love with this unconventional family, and beg to read more titles in the series.
Pandora the cat is a lighthouse keeper who has the lonely job of making sure the lighthouse is always working so that she can help save any sailors that are in need. When Pandora was a young cat, she and her father were on a boat that got caught in a storm. Miraculously, a lighthouse saved them. Ever since, Pandora knew that her destiny was to be a lighthouse keeper. Even though she was lonely, she knew she was doing the right thing.
Seabold is a dog and a sailor. As soon as he was old enough, he built a boat and was off navigating the seas. He did not mind being alone; in fact, he enjoyed it. He was a remarkable sailor and wanted to explore as much as he could.
One day, Seabold, who is normally very good at telling when a storm was coming, had a cold and was very tired. He took a very long nap and awoke to a great storm. All Seabold could do was cling to his boat and hope that he would find safe harbor.
Pandora rescues Seabold and tends to his wounds. When he wakes up he is very thankful for the cat who saved his life. Seabold and Pandora begin getting to know each other, and find that they have many things in common. For one, they both live lives of solitude.
Pandora finds that she enjoys the company of Seabold and looks forward to having a friend to share her days with. Seabold is enjoying his stay, too. As his wounds heal, he begins to help around the island (including fixing his boat). He knows that Pandora is a lighthouse keeper, but with no storms or need for the saving lamp, he almost forgets there is a lighthouse at all. One day, there is a terrible storm. Seabold, who is too hurt to help, sits in the house in bewilderment at the determination of the cat at saving lives. Pandora would sit in the lighthouse for hours on end with the lamp and the horn, all so that she could save a life.
After that, Seabold realizes that maybe he should plan to do something important with his life. He decides to stay with Pandora to help her tend to her lighthouse duties. They work together through the winter.
Spring arrives, and it also brings a surprise for the cat and dog. Seabold spots a floating crate in the water and he is determined to go out and see if there is life in the crate. He takes his boat (which is not finished, but could withstand a small journey) and paddles out to the box. He finds three small mice, scared and helpless. He brings them back to shore where Pandora is waiting with some water.
The three mice, Lila, Whistler, and Tiny, are very grateful for the cat and dog. Pandora and Seabold tend to Tiny who is sick. Pandora searches for a special branch to help Tiny’s fever and Seabold cuddles and cares for the fragile mouse. Seabold realizes that for once, he is happy.
The three mice continue living at the lighthouse with Pandora and Seabold and they become a perfect little family.