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.
Firefighter Duckies! by Frank W. Dormer (9781481460903, Amazon)
Get ready for some brave ducks in this picture book! The firefighter duckies are called into all sorts of emergencies and have to find the solution for them all. They are brave and strong. They rescue a gorilla in a chef hat who has started a fire with his cupcake candle. They rescue whales caught in hungry, angry trees. They help dinosaurs on bicycles and stop rampaging centipedes. They even straighten out the alphabet and aid hairy monsters. It takes strength, bravery, hair cuts, kindness and being helpful. And it also takes a lot of rest afterwards!
Dormer taps into a stream of extreme weirdness in this picture book, demanding that readers just go along with it. The wild ride is definitely worth it and the result is a very fast-paced book that is hilarious. The simple but silly text works perfectly with the equally silly illustrations. Make sure not to get too caught in the speed of the book to notice the details. Just the looks on the ducks’ faces is a hoot as are the circumstances they need to figure out.
A book sure to “quack” you up, this is the perfect book to rescue a toddler story time. Appropriate for ages 2-4.
Reviewed from copy received from Atheneum Books for Young Readers.
Fire Engine No. 9 by Mike Austin
Released September 22, 2015.
This picture book embraces the drama of responding to a fire, showing firefighters sliding down their pole, heading out to the fire, and then putting it out. Along the way, they hook the hose up to the fire hydrant, save a baby, and head directly into the burning building. The book is filled with sounds like alarms sounding, sirens blaring, smashing windows, and the water rushing out of the hose. Climactic and action-filled, this picture book is perfect for the youngest fire-fighting enthusiasts.
Short and filled with almost entirely words that relate to the sounds of a fire response, this book reads quickly and effortlessly. The pacing is frenetic but also systematic like the response itself. The entire book has the feel of excitement but also of an elite team that is prepared to help people.
The art is vibrant and filled with motion. When the fire engine is rushing to the fire, the entire vehicle leans forward with the speed. Dark smoke appears on the page as they reach the fire, billowing over the rest of the city. Bright reds are used very effectively as a background color to amp up the drama and imply the heat of the fire. One of the firefighters is revealed to be a woman at the end of the book, something got a cheer out of me.
Sirens, trucks, action and rescues make this simple book about fire fighters a dynamic pick for toddlers. Appropriate for ages 2-4.
Reviewed from digital galley received from Random House Books for Young Readers and Edelweiss.
Firefighter Ted by Andrea Beaty and Pascal Lemaitre
When Ted woke up one morning, he smelled smoke. He knew that he needed a firefighter! Unable to find a firefighter anywhere in his room, he become one. He did have to make his own fire extinguisher our of whipped cream and an air tube from the fish tank. Firefighter Ted started the day by putting out a breakfast fire, much to his mother’s dismay. He then rescued a kitten from the hot sidewalk. This made him late to school. Met at the door by the principal, Ted became alarmed that the principal was overheating, so he wrapped him in hazard tape and used his fire extinguisher on him. When the class went to the science fair, Ted had to leap into action again to make it all safe. In the end, there was a real fire and you know who came to the rescue!
This second Ted book follows Doctor Ted. Done with the same humor and spunk as the first, readers will be very happy to have a second adventure that hints at a third. Ted is a great character who takes imaginative play to an entirely different level. He combines ingenuity with courage, never paying attention to what others have to say about his costumes or what he does to help. The illustrations are done with thick black lines and bright colors. They are inviting, fun and fresh.
Recommended for all public libraries, this series will fly off of the shelves. It will also make a welcome addition to fire safety story times and units. Appropriate for toddlers through preschoolers, this series will be enjoyed by ages 2-5.
Reviewed from library copy.