In honor of National Firefighter’s Day on May 4, we read “The Little Fire Engine” by Lois Lenski. Originally published in 1946, this vintage picture book manages to maintain a timeless appeal. With a straightforward story, simple but colorful illustrations, and a fire engine (!), it certainly grabbed the attention of our youngest during story time.
Fireman Small is the fire chief of Tiny Town. When the alarm bell rings (“ding-ding! ding-ding-ding!”), he springs into action to save the day! He loads up his pumper truck and races off to the fire (“nang-nang-nang” goes the bell, “ooo-o-WEEE-ooo-oo-o-o” goes the siren). When they arrive at the fire, the firemen unload the hose, and put out the fire…but not before Fireman Small rescues a little girl and her cat from an upstairs window!
It’s a good old-fashioned story, with just the right amount of suspense and heroics to keep little listeners engaged. I love the old-school feel of the illustrations as well. Even for big kids, there’s something compelling about firetrucks and firemen – it’s a can’t-miss combination…and “The Little Fire Engine” was definitely a hit for us!