A little fire engine discovers what it’s good at by eliminating what it is not.
Who knew disappointment could be such a keen teaching tool? Narrator Flash is eager to demonstrate firefighting prowess, but every attempt to “save the day” yields bubkes. First Flash is too little to handle a fire at the airport (Crash, an airport crash tender, handles that one). Next Flash is too short to help a tall building that’s on fire (that honor goes to Laddie, a turntable ladder). Finally, an airplane and a foam tender together solve a forest-fire problem. Only when a bridge is suddenly blocked by snow, with all the other trucks on the wrong side of it, does Flash have the opportunity to save a pet shelter that’s ablaze. (Readers will note characters in shirtsleeves at the beginning of the book, so this is a very unexpected snowstorm.) Calvert deftly finds a new way to introduce kids to different kinds of firefighting vehicles by setting up Flash in opposition to situations where it’s just not the best truck for the job. The anthropomorphized engines and planes irritatingly include unnecessary eyelashes on trucks with feminine pronouns, but this is mitigated by the fact that the girls get cool names like “Crash” and save the day first. Enthusiastic if unremarkable digital art presents both firefighters and citizens in an array of genders and races.
An innocuous telling, sure to slip in effortlessly with other firetruck books. (Picture book. 3-6)