Firefighter Flo! (Andrea Zimmerman)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Firefighter Flo!, written by Andrea Zimmerman and illustrated by Dan Yaccarino, a simple yet exciting tale of firefighters at work. By

Firefighter Flo and the rest of her station house are fast asleep in their bunks when the call comes in – a fire! The team quickly slides down the pole and suits up in turnouts, racing to the scene and manning the hoses to put out the blaze. Suddenly, Flo hears something: the yelp of a dog still stuck in the fire! Acting with haste and courage, Flo breaks through a door and braves the flames, rescuing the pup and reuniting it with its family. A job well done, the firefighters return to the station and tuck in for a good night’s sleep.

Stylish and fun. While the story may seem fairly boilerplate, Zimmerman brings pop and punch to the writing with onomatopoeia and rhythmic meter, making this a joy to read aloud to young bookworms. The excitement of the fire is palpable, added to greatly by Yaccarino’s sleek colorblock art; the geometric polkadot pattern used to for the firehouse’s dalmatian is a great touch, for instance. Best of all, amongst the uncomplicated visuals and storytelling, the creators do something special by centering the story around a woman of color and her very diverse (physically, racially, gender expression, etc) crew. Firefighter books are largely based around white male characters, even when they are ensemble pieces, so this is a great example of a simple story elevated by inclusion and representation. The length is perfect for a quick storytime, and JJ loved the sound effects. Overall, we love it – Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

Wildfire! (Ashley Wolff)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Wildfire! by Ashley Wolff, a fascinating look at two sides of a forest fire – the animals escaping it and the humans working to contain it.

A lightning storm strikes in the early morning hours of a dense mountain forest, leaving a spark that causes Jay to chirp out an alert: “FireFireFire in the forest!”. As various animals seek shelter, protect themselves from, and cry warnings of the advancing flames, a team of dedicated humans – from fire lookouts to pilots to smokejumpers – spring into action to contain the fire as quickly as possible. As the night falls, their brave actions and some fortunate weather extinguish the flames, and the humans head home, leaving the forest’s animals to find growth and new life in the aftermath of the wildfire.

Exciting and educational. Wolff provides a brief yet incredibly thorough look at the impact of forest fires: how they’re fought, how they affect wildlife, and even how they can be a beneficial incident in some ecosystems’ life cycles. Switching between human and animal perspectives also gives a real sense of urgency and empathy; readers can feel the danger that an out-of-control fire can present to human and animal life. Rich, textured illustrations give intensity to scenes of sheltering creatures and smoke jumpers battling huge blazes, as well as a sense of calm and and relief when the danger has passed. Backmatter gives important information on the causes of forest fires, as well as firefighting tools and vocabulary. The length is great for a quick storytime, and JJ loved the animal sections especially. This is a gripping tale that fans of firefighting and forestry will love; Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

Flash, The Little Fire Engine (Pam Calvert)


Hello, friends! Our book today is Flash, The Little Fire Engine, written by Pam Calvert and illustrated by Jen Taylor, a look at different fire-fighting vehicles and the jobs they perform.

Meet Flash, the little red fire engine! The chief says he’s finally ready for his first day on the job, and he’s excited. He spends the morning waiting for a call, watching the passersby in the town square from his engine bay, wondering what his first job will be. Suddenly, the alarm sounds – an emergency at the airport! But when Flash gets there, his pal Crash the airport tender warns him that he’s too small, and to leave this job to her. The same thing happens at the next few calls: a building fire is taken care of by Laddie the ladder truck, and a forest fire by an airplane and foam truck. Flash is beginning to feel discouraged; is there any job meant for him to do? But when a call comes in for a location close to home, Flash finds his courage to save the day.

Very cute. Flash’s series of disappointments serve duel purpose, introducing little readers to an array of firefighting apparatus and vehicles while imparting the message that we all have unique talents and skills. In the end, the engine and his human compatriots get to save a load of cute and furry animals – perhaps not a raging forest fire or flaming airliner, but a worthy act of heroism indeed, that he was brave and skilled enough to do. The focus on Flash being “still too little” will especially ring true to young readers, even if it’s a little confusing as to how Flash might someday grow larger. The art and story also feature a healthy dose of representation: half of the heroic firefighting vehicles are girls, and the human firefighters are a mix of skintones and genders. The story is a good length for any age, and JJ enjoyed it a lot, in particular the ample uses of onomatopoeia. A fantastic read for aspiring firefighters, and Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by a representative of the author in exchange for an honest review.)