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“FIRE! FIRE!” SAID MRS. MCGUIRE by Bill Martin Jr.


by Bill Martin Jr. & illustrated by Vladimir Radunsky

Age Range: 4 - 6

Pub Date: May 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-15-205725-0
Publisher: Harcourt

For the third set of illustrations put to Martin’s much-revised version of an old rhyme (Ted Schroeder, 1970; Richard Egielski, 1996), Radunsky creates a cast of fuzzy-edged mice in a darkened room, who sound the alarm after spotting flames visible through a door’s keyhole. But they discover, once they get the door open, that it comes from a set of birthday candles—arranged on a cake for a party of cats, giving the final tableau a rather ominous flavor. The globby typeface is sometimes hard to read, but readers too young for the humor in Egielski’s slapstick version will enjoy the rhyming and the suspense in this simpler one. A die-cut keyhole adds extra interest, though for design reasons it only penetrates the first few pages and the last one. (Picture book. 4-6)