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)