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MAGNUS AT THE FIRE by Jennifer Armstrong Kirkus Star


by Jennifer Armstrong & illustrated by Owen Smith

Age Range: 7 - 9

Pub Date: May 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-689-83922-7
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Shrugging off attempts to replace him with a motorized truck, an old fire horse breaks through fences whenever he hears the bell, and not only beats the newfangled engine to fires repeatedly, to the annoyance of the Captain, but comes through in the clutch when the machine breaks down. Armstrong tells this dramatic historical tale in suitably rousing fashion—“He followed the smell of smoke, galloping down Long Alley and over another two fences, his mane and tail flaring out behind him like flames. . . . ” Smith uses WPA mural–style figures and colors to illustrate it, placing burly firefighters around a monumentally muscled grey, all in heroic poses and viewed from low angles for a larger-than-life look. Even glimpsed in final, well-earned retirement far from the city, where the only flames come from autumn bonfires, Magnus cuts an awesome figure. Children, horse lovers or no, will long remember him. (afterword) (Picture book. 7-9)