This winner is sure to find a spot on shelves, although it won’t stay there long.

Elya has proven herself a master at painlessly weaving Spanish vocabulary into her stories, and this latest is no exception.

Four bomberos and el capitán race to gear up and get to the fire after the alarm sounds. As humo fills the sky, they work together to aim the hose and douse las flamas. Firefighting is a perennially popular topic, and while the actual story here is rather unexceptional, Elya makes this book stand out in other ways. Yes, there are Dalmatians in the station and a fire pole to slide down. There is danger and the rescue of a cat. But there is also a woman on this firefighting team, and as always, Elya’s rhyming couplets are a joy to read aloud. Context clues as well as words that are close to English make most of the Spanish vocabulary easy to decode. A glossary helps readers with any they may be unsure of and provides pronunciation help. Santat’s illustrations also help to set this firefighter book apart. From the first page, he thrusts readers into the action with up-close views created with colored pencil, water on ink print, fire and Photoshop. His firefighters are real people with needs, interests and fears, who sweat and get dirty.

This winner is sure to find a spot on shelves, although it won’t stay there long. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: April 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-59990-461-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Feb. 4, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2012


A handsome edition of an old favorite.

The familiar cumulative game is played by four children, along with their father and their dog, at the typically British beach pictured on the lovely, expansive first endpaper. 

The children's real activities are shown in b&w drawings; the imaginative doings appear in full color. Although some of the color pages show perfectly possible events, most are clearly fantasy, suggesting just how close the two may be in children's minds. The family ends up in safe retreat in one big cozy bed; the bear is seen--on the second essential, beautiful endpaper--headed into a gloomy sea. Oxenbury's splendid watercolors and drawings perfectly evoke both landscape and the members of the questing family. 

A handsome edition of an old favorite. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 1989

ISBN: 978-0-689-50476-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1989


Sure to assuage the fears of all astronauts bound for similar missions.

A genius way to ease kids into the new adventure that is kindergarten.

In an imaginative ruse that’s maintained through the whole book, a young astronaut prepares for his mission to Planet Kindergarten. On liftoff day (a space shuttle–themed calendar counts down the days; a stopwatch, the minutes), the small family boards their rocket ship (depicted in the illustrations as the family car), and “the boosters fire.” They orbit base camp while looking for a docking place. “I am assigned to my commander, capsule, and crewmates.” Though he’s afraid, he stands tall and is brave (not just once, either—the escape hatch beckons, but NASA’s saying gets him through: “FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION”). Parents will certainly chuckle along with this one, but kindergarten teachers’ stomach muscles will ache: “[G]ravity works differently here. We have to try hard to stay in our seats. And our hands go up a lot.” Prigmore’s digital illustrations are the perfect complement to the tongue-in-cheek text. Bold colors, sharp lines and a retro-space style play up the theme. The intrepid explorer’s crewmates are a motley assortment of “aliens”—among them are a kid in a hoodie with the laces pulled so tight that only a nose and mouth are visible; a plump kid with a bluish cast to his skin; and a pinkish girl with a toothpick-thin neck and huge bug eyes.

Sure to assuage the fears of all astronauts bound for similar missions. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: May 20, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4521-1893-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: May 13, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

Close Quickview