Burning Books: A Storytime about Firefighters

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Firefighter Finger Puppet by Claire

This week is Fire Prevention Week, and there have been firetrucks parked at all the local schools for fire safety presentations.  We are also lucky here in Pacifica that every second Tuesday (if they don’t get called away), a group of firefighters comes to the 10:30am preschool storytime to read books.  (I admit that I’m as excited to see them as the kids are, although I’ve never gotten to climb in the truck.  Someday…)

So, in honor of our firefighters, I did a Firefighting Storytime with some of my favorite books.  They were:

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Firefighters A to Z by Chris Demarest

I should have included this one in my ABC storytime a few weeks ago.  It’s an amazingly well-crafted alphabet book that follows the firefighters through all the steps of putting out a fire.  The illustrations are large and vivid.

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Firefighter Ted by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by Pascal Lamaitre

Several kids asked to check out each of the books that I read tonight, but this one was a brawler!  That’s when several want the book so desperately that all manners are forgotten and a little tug-of-war ensues.  It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, you know it’s a good book!  This book especially appealed to my Kindergarten kids.  When Ted the bear smells smoke one morning, he knows what he has to do: become a fireman!  Armed with a makeshift fire extinguisher (a can of whipped cream with a straw attached), he sets out to save his mother, his neighbors, and his principal from all sorts of dangers.  One boy in our group laughed himself silly at the picture of the principal in his underwear.  The parents enjoyed this one too.

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The Firefighters’ Thanksgiving by Maribeth Boelts; illustrated by Terry Widener

I sometimes get choked up at this one.  One of the firefighters who come to the library read it at the preschool storytime the day before and seemed to appreciate it too (I’m always curious what they think about how they’re portrayed in picture books). Firefighters at a busy fire station try repeatedly to cook their Thanksgiving dinner, but are constantly having to start over when they get called away to put out a fire.  Then, Lou, one of their team members is injured, and has to go to the hospital.  While they are out on their last call, people from the community deliver a Thanksgiving dinner to the station to say thank you.  The rhyming text is simple enough for almost any age.  A few weeks ago, I gave this one to a toddler who loves firetrucks, and his mom told me they read it together every day.

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Firefighters in the Dark by Dashka Slater; illustrated by Nicoletta Ciccoli

My daughter is in love with this book.  A little girl who lives near a fire station imagines all the emergencies the firefighters are called away too: a castle where a dragon has accidentally set the table on fire; a woman who ate a chili pepper so hot that flames shoot out of her mouth; a little boy who bounces into the sky and all the way to Jupiter.  The illustrations are vibrant and whimsical, and I love the language: “The clouds are full of water and we put them in our hoses, and spray away the fire in the stars.”  There was a minor skirmish over who was going to get to take this book home too.

SONGS: Hurry, Hurry! Drive the Fire Truck!

CRAFT: Firefighter Finger Puppets

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Firefighter Finger Puppet by Ella

I found this one on the Yakaberry web site.  Basically, the kids each wrapped a small rectangle of white paper around one of their fingers and taped it into a small cylinder to make the firefighter’s head.  Then they drew a face on the paper with markers.

The hat was a red construction paper “egg,” with a little flap cut in the middle for the head to poke through (I cut these out ahead of time).  The kids glued the paper cylinder head onto the long part of the hat, then glued a little white square with a number on it onto the part of the hat that was sticking up.

OTHER BOOKS:

Fireman Small by Wong Herbert Yee

Poor Fireman Small can’t get any sleep.  Every time he climbs in bed, he is called out to rescue a cat up a tree, a small bunny in a well, or a baker with a fire.  Just as he is finally drifting off for the night, there is a knock at the door: all of the people he helped coming to say thank you.  This is a rhyming story with cute illustrations, and the first of several books about Fireman Small.

Poinsettia and the Firefighters by Felicia Bond

Poinsettia the pig is afraid of the dark.  She worries about every sound she hears as she lies in bed in her new room.  But then she sees a light: utility line outside their neighbor’s house is burning!  Poinsettia raises the alarm, and the firefighters rush over to put out the fire.  She learns that there is always someone awake at the fire station, keeping watch, and it eases her fears of being alone in the dark.  This is a sweet story both for fans of firefighters and kids who have trouble sleeping.

What are your favorite books about firefighters?

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