Kirkus Reviews QR Code


by Chris L. Demarest & illustrated by Chris L. Demarest

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: June 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-689-84120-5
Publisher: McElderry

Demarest follows up Firefighters A-Z (2000) with this compelling offering on counting. As in Firefighters, Demarest broadens the scope of the traditional concept book by packing the pages with information. In this case, it’s about an elite team of firefighters who parachute into remote locations to battle forest fires. It opens with a bang: “One lightning bolt, in a flash strikes a tree . . . Two pilots radio in what they see.” Demarest’s dramatic pastel illustrations show the tree ablaze as it’s struck by lightning; on the opposite page, a colorful vignette depicts the pilots from the rear as they spot the plumes of smoke outside ahead. By numbering each stage of the response, Demarest heightens the tension until, finally, the smokejumpers leap from the plane (“Ten seconds later . . . the slap, which means “GO!”) At this point, the countdown reverses as three double-page spreads show the ensuing action. In the first, the smokejumper appears in full gear as her parachute skims the surface of the trees and smoke and fire erupt in the background. Later, the smokejumpers clear the area, saw down a tree, and an airplane blankets the area with “three drops of slurry [to] help slow the fire’s spread.” Black-and-white labeled drawings of a “smokejumper outfit” and “Wildland Firefighter Outfit” appear in the opening and closing; an author’s note relates the history of the field and provides further information about terms introduced in the text. References, suggested reading, and the National Smokejumper Association Web site are also included. (Picture book/nonfiction. 5-8)