Thursday, May 13, 2010

Firehouse! by Mark Teague - Book Review and Fire Truck Craft

Last week a vacant home outside our city caught fire and the kids could see the large amount smoke in the sky and hear the sirens from our house. My daughter noticed the black cloud even before we heard the sirens. Fire trucks, firehouses and firemen always seem to interest kids. I bought my son his own red fire hat at the local dollar store last year and it continues to be his very favorite dress up hat. He likes to push all the noisy buttons on his fire trucks and operate the ladders. He also loves to read books about fire trucks.

"Edward wants to be a firefighter. One day he and Judy visit a firehouse."
Firehouse! by Mark Teague. Orchard Books (May 2010); ISBN 9780439915007; 32 pages
(Book Source: Review copy provided by publisher)
My first introduction to Mark Teague was during the summer of 2007. I was in charge of the summer library program at a small public library and he created the exceptional artwork for the "Get a Clue @ Your Library" nationwide programs that year. The artwork featured the Ike LaRue canine character from his LaRue books. That same summer my daughter, just a toddler, also discovered the How Do Dinosaurs... series that Teague illustrated. We've been fans of his illustrations and stories now for a few years, so we jumped at the opportunity to review his latest picture book, Firehouse!

If you've read and enjoyed Teague's Funny Farm, you'll probably also like Firehouse! The tuxedo wearing, blundering Boston Terrier named Edward makes another appearance in Teague's latest story, this time at the firehouse. Edward desperately wants to learn how to be a firefighter. He participates in a fire drill and tries his best to learn the ropes, but ends up being more of a hindrance than help. But when a real emergency arises, he comes to the rescue and saves the day.

My kids enjoyed following along and viewing the illustrations of Edward as he floundered as a firefighter, getting knocked off his feet by water and caught at the top of the ladder. But the part they liked best was when Edward rescued the cute little kitty cat from the tree. The illustrations in the book are top notch, and even though the text is a bit sparse and lacks the NOISY sounds and dynamics we like to see in fire books, the kids still loved the canine characters and plot. I'm impressed that Teague decided to feature a female fire chief (a Dalmatian named Mrs. Speckle) and other female doggy firefighters. We weren't sure what role the small little firefighter mice play in the firehouse, but they are definitely cute and fun to spot!

The Fire Engine Book (Little Golden Book) by Tibor Gergely. Random House; ISBN 9780307960245 ; 24 pages
(Book Source: Copy from our Personal Library)
Speaking of fire truck books, my personal favorite is for toddlers is the classic The Fire Engine Book (Little Golden Book). My brother and I both very much loved the story when we were little, as evidenced by the duct-taped copy my mom still owns. The action packed book shows brave fireman as they race to put out a fire. The kids like all the "dinging and clanging" and seeing the important work of the fireman in the book. The book was first published in 1950 so the retro illustrations only show white male firefighters (really the only negative). The short, noisy text makes it great for repeated readings and small attention spans.

❖❖❖❖❖❖ stART Project - Fire Truck with Moving Parts Paper Craft ❖❖❖❖❖❖

I decided to try out a shape related craft with my toddler son this week. I cut out all the parts for a fire truck from some colored cardstock and helped him assemble his very own fire truck. For the most part, the craft is from a template I found on Making Learning Fun. I loved the coiled, interactive hose idea. I decided my son would also love making the ladder move up and down, so we attached a white piece of paper with a ladder drawn on it using a brass brad. While we glued the pieces on we talked about the various shapes. He decided his engine should have a number 5 on it as well, just like the number of Edward's firehouse in Teague's book!

A Mommy's Adventures hosts the "stART" meme (Story + Art) each week. Hope Is the Word hosts a Read Aloud Thursday link-up as well.

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Kristie said...

I love the firetruck you made! We'll have to do that one of these days! :-)

Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

I'm defnitely taking notes for my own little boy who is yet to arrive! :-)

Mark Teague is a very talented author/illustrator, isn't he?

Thanks so much for linking up to Read Aloud Thursday!

Janet said...

You do such great crafts! Perfect for a young fire truck fan.

Our favorite Mark Teague book around here is The Great Gracie Chase. A huge hit, that one!

Janet said...

Oops, slight correction: Mark Teague collaborated with Cynthia Rylant on the Gracie book. Credit to both parties duly acknowledged!

Michelle said...

I will have to look for this book, Emily likes firetrucks as well and I would love to share this book and craft with her. I love the movable hose.

Thank you for linking up to stART!!

Natalie PlanetSmarty said...

I think your son would have also liked Firefighter Ted that we just read. It's a little "tongue in cheek", but he could probably connect to the main character. We didn't read a lot by Mark Teague, but we also adore How Do Dinosaurs series. Great choice of craft for this theme!

Unknown said...

I have GOT to bookmark these books in my mental computer for our fire safety unit next year...most excellent!

Jenny said...

We do like Mark Teague around here. And I love the idea for an interactive craft.

Violet said...

Wonderful review and what a fun fire truck art project! We'll have to look for this book. Mark Teague's Pigsty is one of our younger daughter's favorite books. Love his illustrations! :)

Z-Kids said...

I love Mark Teague but didn't know about this book yet... Thanks for highlighting it!

Unknown said...

What a wonderful book , so educational too.
well done...
what a pleasure to meet you..
I am your latest follower..
sorry for being late..
Mine is here
Have a beautiful Sunday!