Kirkus Reviews QR Code
FIREFIGHTING by Maria Mudd Ruth


Behind the Scenes

by Maria Mudd Ruth & photographed by Scott Sroka

Age Range: 7 - 10

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-395-70129-5
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

This in-depth look at firefighting will give readers a good sense of all aspects of the job. Ruth opens with a history of firefighting in the US, when 300 years ago “rattle watches” patrolled, shaking their rattles to alert people in times of danger. The discussion moves on to the rigorous training period all firefighters must complete, their equipment—from turn-out coats to airport fire-crash vehicles—and touches upon both the physical and mental toll a big blaze takes on the fighters. Perhaps the best part of the book (besides the crackingly good full-color photographs from Sroka) is the detailing of the response to a fire: What may look like utter chaos to an observer at a fire scene is really a minutely choreographed affair. Ruth also goes into the aftermath of a blaze, and the subsequent analysis and evaluation of technique, and includes fire prevention and safety tips. The text avoids melodrama, and the photos steer clear of the sensational, but the heroism of firefighters radiates from the page. (Nonfiction. 7-10)