A children’s tale that veers toward the sugary side, but the ups and downs of an anthropomorphic fire engine are...



A once-beloved fire engine regains a town’s affection in this picture book for lap readers.

When the town of Someport-by-the-Sea buys a new fire engine—bright, red Reddy with his big, red water tank—residents young and old (all depicted as Caucasian) are delighted. Helpful Reddy makes the town proud; he receives accolades wherever he goes. But after leading his first Independence Day parade, Reddy loses his luster, and admiration shifts to new acquisitions, including a snowplow and a road grader. The truck is renamed Rusty and eventually relegated to the end of the parade. How Rusty reclaims the townspeople’s hearts involves a hot summer day, an old friend, and a surprise repurposing of Rusty’s water tank. Adults may find the narrative a bit precious at times (the ladders go “Up Up Uppity-up”; the firehouse dog goes “Bark Bark Barkity-bark”), but Fisher’s (The Next Breath, 2014, etc.) prose invites empathy, as does illustrator Boswell’s understated suggestion of a face in Rusty’s grille and headlights. The author’s observations on the fickleness of fame come through with appropriate humor and heart, and the small illustrations are pleasantly rendered against ample negative space.

A children’s tale that veers toward the sugary side, but the ups and downs of an anthropomorphic fire engine are sympathetically portrayed.

Pub Date: May 15, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9905678-1-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Angler Publishing

Review Posted Online: Sept. 22, 2017

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This companion piece to the other fairy tales Marcia Brown has interpreted (see Puss In Boots, 1952, p. 548 and others) has the smoothness of a good translation and a unique charm to her feathery light pictures. The pictures have been done in sunset colors and the spreads on each page as they illustrate the story have the cumulative effect of soft cloud banks. Gentle.

Pub Date: June 15, 1954

ISBN: 0684126761

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1954

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The greening of Dr. Seuss, in an ecology fable with an obvious message but a savingly silly style. In the desolate land of the Lifted Lorax, an aged creature called the Once-ler tells a young visitor how he arrived long ago in the then glorious country and began manufacturing anomalous objects called Thneeds from "the bright-colored tufts of the Truffula Trees." Despite protests from the Lorax, a native "who speaks for the trees," he continues to chop down Truffulas until he drives away the Brown Bar-ba-loots who had fed on the Tuffula fruit, the Swomee-Swans who can't sing a note for the smogulous smoke, and the Humming-Fish who had hummed in the pond now glumped up with Gluppity-Glupp. As for the Once-let, "1 went right on biggering, selling more Thneeds./ And I biggered my money, which everyone needs" — until the last Truffula falls. But one seed is left, and the Once-let hands it to his listener, with a message from the Lorax: "UNLESS someone like you/ cares a whole awful lot,/ nothing is going to get better./ It's not." The spontaneous madness of the old Dr. Seuss is absent here, but so is the boredom he often induced (in parents, anyway) with one ridiculous invention after another. And if the Once-let doesn't match the Grinch for sheer irresistible cussedness, he is stealing a lot more than Christmas and his story just might induce a generation of six-year-olds to care a whole lot.

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 1971

ISBN: 0394823370

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1971

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