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"FIRE! FIRE!" SAID MRS. McGUIRE by Bill Martin Jr.


by Bill Martin Jr. & illustrated by Richard Egielski

Age Range: 2 - 6

Pub Date: March 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-15-227562-2
Publisher: Harcourt

Women are depicted here in a number of unexpected roles, including the heroic. Martin (The Maestro Plays, 1994, etc.) has created line after line of tetrameter, each introducing a new character and laying the groundwork for the plot, which involves a report of a fire and the group of firefighters who rush to it. Egielski connects the characters with slick action pictures showing the citywide havoc caused by the report and its aftermath: The source of the fire is a birthday cake with a huge number of candles aflame. In this women's world, the men who play supporting roles are bumbling and dangerous; while the fire rages and people jump from windows, the firemen are diverted by a scantily clad blonde crying for a drink of water. That stereotyping contradicts the spirit of fresh perceptions shown in the rest of the book, but its bold, breezy tone helps compensate for the offense, and youngsters will be captivated by the colorful scenes and forceful language. (Picture book. 2-6)