Saturday, September 17, 2011

Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey- ESSENTIAL

Kalman, Maira.  Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey, 48 pgs.  Putnam Juvenile, 2002.  $17.99.  

Inside cover:  “One sunny day, the John J. Harvey fireboat was built.  It was the largest, fastest, shiniest fireboats of its time, and it could pump as much water as twenty fire engines.  It put out some of the biggest fires of its day.  But in 1995, the city didn’t need old fireboats anymore.  So the Harvey was put to pasture, until a group of friends decided to save it from the scrap heap.  They fixed it up, showed it off and used it for having fun, not for fighting fires.  Then, in 2011, on another sunny day, something so horrible happened that the whole world shook.  And a call came from the fire department, asking if the Harvey could battle the roaring flames, as all the fire hydrants were broken.”  

This story is not only informative and interesting but also very touching. Be forewarned: The illustrations at the end of the book depict the events of that fateful day.  If your students/children don’t know about the planes crashing into the Twin Towers, or the towers crashing down, or the frantic reaction by those witnessing the fires and destruction, you might want to inform them or wait until they are a little older.  I read it to my 8 year old, and didn’t have any reservations. After reading the book, we actually had a very good discussion. We have been very open about the events 9/11. This book could be used in any review of the tragedies surrounding 9/11.  

EL(K-3).  ESSENTIAL.  Reviewer: SL.

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