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.