Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Fireman Small by Wong Herbert Yee

Copyright ©1994 by Wong Herbert Yee

Fireman Small is dedicated to his job, but unfortunately, as the sole firefighter on his side of the Bay, his job seems never-ending.  After each rescue mission, the weary fireman, “... pulls back into station number nine, walks upstairs one step at a time, closes the curtains, gets in bed and pulls the covers over his head.”    

Fireman Small, however, can never remain under the covers for long,  since his slumber is always interrupted by  the ring of an alarm,  bell  or telephone, signaling yet another emergency.  Despite working day and night, he is always ready for action:  “Quickly out of bed he scoots, jumps into his pants and boots. Ready to go, he slides down the pole puts on his helmet and coat below.”
Thankfully,  Fireman Small’s dedication does not go unappreciated. After one final attempt to get some shuteye, the doorbell rings at the fire station.  This time, however, it is not an emergency. It is simply the people who Fireman Small has assisted, stopping by to express their gratitude.  Such a simple and endearing story.
Fireman Small is told in a repetitive rhyme which is very catchy. The book contains fun words like “ring-a-ling-ding”, cling-a-cling-clang”,  “jing-a-ling-jing” and “ding-a-dong-ding” which invite a young child  to eagerly participate in the reading.  I read Fireman Small to my boys when they were younger and now I am reading it to my little daughter. She loves to run to me, book clasped in her hand, chanting,  “Fireman Small, Fireman Small.” She has the entire book memorized.  Once your kids fall in love with the diminutive fireman with the prominent nose, they will be thrilled to learn that there are 2 other very good books featuring Fireman Small:  A Small Christmas and Fireman Small- Fire Down Below. Yee has even written a book in which the titular character Small is a detective rather than a fireman:  Detective Small in the Amazing Banana Caper.   I hope to feature Detective Small  in another week or so. 

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