The McMullans’ latest collaboration, following other transportation-themed books (plus a T. Rex), looks at the important job of a fire engine.
In informal, enjoyable language that mixes slang and street talk, an anthropomorphized (and very self-confident) fire engine introduces itself and all its equipment: “Wanna see what I’m packin’?” The book loosely follows the engine from a 911 call through its successfully putting out the (mostly nonscary) fire in a warehouse and then heading back to the station to care for the equipment and the truck. Vocabulary is introduced throughout. “Transmitter? / Gimme the green! // Traffic? / I’m talkin’ to you! / Over to the curb— / I’m comin’ through!” While the invitation to match the names of tools with pictures of them may frustrate readers, who will want an answer key, observant children will find many (though not all) answers within the text. Though the engine does mention the fire fighters, they are strangely absent from the watercolor-and-gouache illustrations, which may be disappointing to those kids who aspire to firefighting careers—in reality, the truck is only another tool.
For those kids who dream of the station, the fire pole and the calls, this will be an exciting ride. (Picture book. 4-8)