MY FIRE ENGINE

For the same audience that took to Peter S°s’s Fire Truck (1998), a spirited little educational fantasy from Rex (The Painting Gorilla, 1997). In a very young voice, a small boy describes his work as a firefighter. He covers equipment and tactics in crisp, no-nonsense sentences: “I jump into the Pumper Engine and we’re off. The siren blares to let people know we are coming. The Aerial Ladder Truck is right behind us. We drive quickly, but very safely.” For so staccato a beat, the text is surprisingly soothing and quite authentically ingenuous. Softening the litany of fire-fighting facts (“The engine carries 750 gallons of water. That’s equal to 25 full bathtubs”) is a modest episode of heroism in which a pet snake is rescued from the flames—all in a day’s work. Adding an overall note of warmth in vivid red, yellow, and blue are Rex’s colored-pencil illustrations, a medium that here is unrivaled in its welcoming and immediate appeal. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8050-5391-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1999

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HUGO AND THE BULLY FROGS

In a book that shows one kind of conflict resolution, Hugo, a shy frog with a small croak, learns to be more assertive with the help of a duck. Hugo lives in terror of the big frogs, especially Pop Eyes, a bully who dumps Hugo into the pond upside down, snatches his stick, and splashes him. Duck teaches Hugo to quack loudly when threatened, and the next time the bully frogs come around, Hugo opens his mouth and bellows “QUACK!” The result of this surprising emission is that birds scatter, butterflies flutter, fish flap, and the bully frogs fall into the pond. Church’s art gives the frogs, fish, snails, and worms of this story bright colors and ping-pong-ball eyes, plus the requisite goofy expressions. A funny story, with surprises that will have toddlers giggling. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 1999

ISBN: 1-86233-093-X

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1999

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CAN YOU HOP?

Hopping is not hard, for a frog, but when he asks other animals to join him, he finds that bats flap, lobsters snap, and dust flies when an especially large rhinoceros stomps. None of the creatures can do what the frog does so well, until he meets a rabbit, and it becomes a friendship bound by bounding. Vere’s creatures are reminiscent of Sandra Boynton’s: smiling, bright, and lively, unrestrained by this board book’s small dimensions. A hopping good time. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: March 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-531-30131-1

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Orchard

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1999

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