FIREBOY TO THE RESCUE!

Fear not! Fireboy is here! And in his tight red suit with emblazoned FB, yellow cape, rakish mask with feathery flame and, of course, black boots trimmed with yellow, Fireboy is sure to keep readers’ attention. Covering the basics of reporting a fire, how to get out, how to prevent fires and what safety devices every home should have, Miller addresses the important points in a way that instructs but is unlikely to instill fear in his audience. Also addressed are the importance of having fire drills at home and what to do in case of a fire in a high-rise building. Filled with asides that give often-overlooked tips, this stands out among other fire-safety texts. Apropos to the superhero theme, the graphic artwork relies on comic-book style—bright colors, blocky shapes, dotted backgrounds, speech bubbles and several typefaces in many sizes. Into this he also tosses a few collaged items—some artwork, fire hydrants, fire extinguishers, smoke detectors and smoke alarms. A little late for Fire Safety Week, but surely one to keep in mind for next October. (Informational picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: March 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-8234-2222-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2010

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THE EARTH BOOK

Parr adds to his successful series of easy-to-understand, vibrantly illustrated stories with this ecologically themed offering for younger children. He uses a simple, repetitive structure written in first person: “I [do this worthwhile activity] / and [this one] because… // I love [this aspect of nature] / and I want [this to happen].” This structural format works well to bring complex issues such as global warming into a simple context that kids can connect with. The text reads smoothly and poetically, but children may need some additional explanation from an adult to understand the logic behind the actions and resulting benefits. The cheerful illustrations include children of all colors (real and make-believe) and recognizable animals with wildly imaginary color schemes. A concluding note from the author offers encouraging words about taking care of the environment, and the reverse of the book jacket includes a list of ten ways to save the Earth. His approach to this complex topic is simple but not simplistic, and this introduction to the subject is both useful and entertaining. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-316-04265-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 18, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2010

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An endearing story conveying a satisfying sense of a job well done.

NIGHT JOB

A little boy accompanies his single-parent father to his evening job as the custodian at a large middle school in this serene, evocative story.

The unnamed boy narrates the story in present tense as the pair ride together on the dad’s motorcycle over a bridge and past a bay to the empty school. At first the boy shoots baskets as his dad mops the floor of the gym, but later the child works alongside his father as they listen to a baseball game on the radio. They eat sandwiches in a courtyard together, and then the boy reads and naps on a couch in the library while his father continues cleaning. By daybreak they are back home, falling asleep snuggled up in a cozy recliner, both dreaming of riding the motorcycle together over the water of the bay. This little boy is only 5 or 6, but he’s a real help to his dad in packing up their lunch, assisting with his duties, and cleaning out their lunchbox when they return home. Hesse’s poetic, calm text is matter-of-fact in conveying the love between parent and child and the bonding occurring through their shared work. Karas’ mixed-media illustrations, employing a soft focus and a muted, nighttime palette, help to relay this bond as well as the excitement of riding on the back of a motorcycle at night. Father and son both present white, and both wear helmets.

An endearing story conveying a satisfying sense of a job well done. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 11, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6238-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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