Review: Little Smokey by Robert Neubecker

Little Smokey by Robert Neubecker

Little Smokey by Robert Neubecker (9781984851055)

When a new little plane joins the National Interagency Fire Center (Nif-C), they don’t have a job right away. Each plane earns their name, so the little plane must wait to find out what he will be called. Buster is a big air tanker that sprays water on forest fires. Bruno is even bigger and scoops water from lakes to put out the fires. Bertha is the biggest plan with tons of red fire retardant on board. The big plans head out to put out fires while the little plane is left circling the airport. As they fight a large fire, the little plane offers again and again to help but is refused. It isn’t until the fire spreads to a canyon that they need the little sized plane’s agility. This is his chance!

This is a modern story with a vintage vibe. The anthropomorphized planes are all friendly but also fierce when they fight the fires. The feeling of a little one being left out of serious business is something that children will relate to. Then the little plane being skilled and just right for specific scenarios is an empowering ending to the tale. The book ends with more information on wildfires and fire fighting. The illustrations are done in watercolor and pencils. They capture the drama of the wildfires and the skill and methods it takes to battle them. The bright colored planes shine even through the smoke.

A winning story for kids who love airplanes that is actually fun to read aloud. Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from e-galley provided by Alfred A. Knopf.


News to Wake Your Brain Cells – September 27


11 Rosh Hashanah Books for Children and Babies – Book Riot

Alex Gino shares what it’s like to author the #1 most banned book – Intellectual Freedom Blog

Bestselling author R.J. Palacio’s First Graphic Novel Grapples with All-Too-Relevant History – Forbes

Children’s books are tackling dark and taboo topics. Morris Gleitzman says that’s nothing to be afraid of – ABC Australia

Fiction for older children reviews: flying puns and dangerous games – The Guardian

How a children’s book is helping parents talk to their kids about gun violence – NYU

How “Heather Has Two Mommies” Paved the Way for LGBTQ-Inclusive Children’s Books – NewNowNext

In Conversation: Grace Lin and Alvina Ling – Publisher’s Weekly

Kids’ Books Add Meaning to Christmas – Publisher’s Weekly

Remembering Caldecott Winner Mordicai Gerstein – SLJ

Vashti Harrison’s Children’s Books as Mirrors, Windows & Sliding Doors – Romper


It’s a beacon for the city: inside the new New York library that cost $40m to build – The Guardian

Why This Librarian Is Using Twitter to Fight Changes to Library Ebook Pricing Terms – Forbes


Parents play a key role in fostering children’s love of reading – Medical Xpress

Why some people become lifelong readers – The Atlantic


7 YA Books about Immigration, Immigrant Camps, and Deportation – Book Riot

Kick Off Fall with This Trio of Innovative YA Graphic Novels – NPR

With two new books, Rainbow Rowell hits the road – Publisher’s Weekly