A title for beginning readers, this entry in the I Like to Read series follows Fireman Fred from the firehouse, out on a call and back again.
The napping Fred, asleep in his gear on what appears to be a wooden table with wheels, his hat on the floor beside him, is awoken by the fire alarm. The firefighters rush to the truck: “ ‘Run! Run,’ calls the chief.” Arriving at a house with bright orange flames coming out the upper window, the firefighters get the hose and extinguish the fire. They then rescue a woman’s cat (“Mew, mew”) from a tree and try to find the owner of a yipping dog. Failing that, Fred rides back to the firehouse with the dog, and the two curl up together on a real bed for a nap, though Fred’s gear is still either on him or scattered on the floor. Indeed, firefighting purists will cringe at Reed’s trademark gouache artwork. Her firefighters, rather than looking confident and professional, seem disorganized and even dismayed, their arms flailing about. There is no talk of taking care of gear nor anything about fire safety, and sadly, firefighting is reduced to putting out fires and rescuing cats stuck in trees.
While the vocabulary is certainly easy and limited (alone and chief are the two hardest words), beginning readers will have heard enough stories about firefighters to spot the problems. (Early reader. 4-6)