HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Fireman Small: Fire Down Below!
Author and Illustrator: Wong Herbert Yee
Publisher: Sandpiper, republished in 2004
Language level: 1 (nothing objectionable)
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Rating: 4 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Yee, Wong Herbert. Fireman Small: Fire Down Below! (published in 2001 by Sandpiper). In Fireman Small (1994), Yee used rhymed verse and neat watercolors to introduce the tiny Fireman Small and describe how he rescues Farmer Pig’s cat and all the other animals in town. In this sequel the diminutive firefighter is trying to get some well-deserved sleep. A leaky roof at the fire station keeps him awake, so he flees the rain-soaked station for a drier night at the Pink Hotel. But just as his droopy eyelids close, something starts tickling his nose and disturbs his sleep. When Small smells smoke from the first floor he must get all the animal guests to safety. He tells them to “Stop drop and roll!” He instructs Alligator to take the stairs, not the elevator, and cautions Farmer Pig, not to make up the bed but just grab a wet towel to cover his head. He must also find an inventive way to extinguish the fire. The singsong rhythm of the text makes it easy for a parent to read it over and over, as children often demand. The colorful illustrations are simple, and the humorous story with its likeable characters presents an important message about fire safety.