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21 Reviews
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the classic, the best firefighter picture book
Lois Lenski's _The Little Fire Engine_ was first published in the 1940s. The pictures look a little bit dated and corny. Don't let that fool you. This is the best firefighter picture book; it's the standard by which all others have since been measured.
In the story, Fireman Small races with the other firefighters to the scene of a fire, where they save a girl and...
Published on May 13, 2002 by Ken Miller

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15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not a Good Standard
All children's books do not age equally.

In some cases, like the nature stories of Eric Carle or the epics of Margaret Wise Brown, the date of the story is almost invisible, because the subject is so universal and well-told. In other cases, like the Little Engine that Could, we understand that this is an "old story," but the message is important enough that we...
Published on April 25, 2011 by Connor Coyne


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the classic, the best firefighter picture book, May 13, 2002
This review is from: The Little Fire Engine (Hardcover)
Lois Lenski's _The Little Fire Engine_ was first published in the 1940s. The pictures look a little bit dated and corny. Don't let that fool you. This is the best firefighter picture book; it's the standard by which all others have since been measured.
In the story, Fireman Small races with the other firefighters to the scene of a fire, where they save a girl and her cat, locate the blaze, and extinguish it. They return to the firehouse. The story is so incredibly simple, but the author has laid everything out so that a child can learn so much from this book. Questions are answered, and children who know a lot about firefighters will have their curiosity piqued by everything in this book, from the "nang, nang, nang, nang goes the bell" to Fireman Small chopping a hole in the roof.
My son and I have looked through lots of firefighting picture books, and I think _The Little Fire Engine_ is simply the best I've seen.
ken32
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic!, December 17, 2003
This review is from: The Little Fire Engine (Hardcover)
This is my two and a half year old son's ABSOLUTE favorite book. He asks to read "Fireman Small" every day at naptime and at bedtime too. ( we usually read it several times each sitting!) He has had this book since he was 12 months old and it was an instant hit with him. His favorite part is when fireman small saves the little girl and her kitten, he throws his arms up and yells Hooray! It is a great book about an everyday hero (fireman small). The classic illustrations are wonderful and a breath of fresh air in this computer generated age. I would highly reccomend this book for any toddler.
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15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not a Good Standard, April 25, 2011
This review is from: The Little Fire Engine (Hardcover)
All children's books do not age equally.

In some cases, like the nature stories of Eric Carle or the epics of Margaret Wise Brown, the date of the story is almost invisible, because the subject is so universal and well-told. In other cases, like the Little Engine that Could, we understand that this is an "old story," but the message is important enough that we can look past or even enjoy its age. Age might even be a teachable moment, to explain to our children that things change over time.

The fatal problem with the Little Fire Engine isn't that it is poorly drawn or poorly illustrated; in many ways it is a beautiful book. The problem is that any childrens' story about fires and fire fighters will necessarily have to deal with safety, and while Lenski has given careful attention to the sounds and appearances of the the fire engine, she has neglected the proper response to a fire, which was just as important in 1946 as it is in the 2000s.

The most obvious example of this is what happens when Fireman Small arrives at the scene of the fire: "The family carry sofa, lamps, tables, and chairs out of the house." Several pages later:

'"Oh, look!" Everybody looks. A little girl is standing at the upstairs window. She has a kitten in her arms.'

What kind of family is this that meticulously saves all of their furniture but hasn't cleared their children from danger? And to take the complaint a little further, what is the importance of material possessions next to human life?

A few pages later, Fireman Small steps onto the roof and starts whacking at the roof with his axe. This makes him a very bad fire fighter; real fire-fighters don't gamble with their lives. They test the sturdiness of anything they're standing on, and most often, their efforts are directed at the source of the fire, lower down, instead of the tips of the flames.

Positive reviewers argue that the datedness of this book can be ignored or embraced. It's well crafted and well designed, and we shouldn't worry about the fact that the pictures are old-fashioned. They are right that these are not issues, and it is an attractive book. However, as an introduction to the nature of fire and fire-fighting, the Little Fire Engine fails at all of its most important tasks. It is not enough for such a book to show a well-drawn fire-engine and its scrappy little driver. Parents and readers would be better served to find a book that can balance a spirited and well-crafted telling with the seriousness of fires and the importance of safety.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars little fire engine, January 10, 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Little Fire Engine (Hardcover)
Fabulous to see the Lois Lenski books reprinted. They have been a favorite of mine since I was a child and now my children enjoy them tremendously. Informative, wholesome, and terrific stories that have lasted the test of time. Don't miss out on these!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fire Trucks and Lois Lenski - a Classic!, March 28, 2006
This review is from: The Little Fire Engine (Hardcover)
My 2-year old son and I enjoy all of the Lois Lenski "Little" and "Small" books. This story is fun to read, easy to understand and thought/discussion provoking. We LOVE anything Fire Truck - but this is an absolute favorite!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reader Recommendation, January 3, 2007
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This review is from: The Little Fire Engine (Hardcover)
I got this book for a great nephew because both he & his older brother thought an earlier Lois Lenski book had been their favorite. It has met their expectations - something many writers don't achieve.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Book, September 12, 2006
By 
K. Vecera (Dallas, TX United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Little Fire Engine (Hardcover)
My son is almost 2 1/2 and he loves this book. We read it everyday, at least once, and he has almost memorized it, but he loves it anyway. We also have The Little Train, and that one is great, too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The strange, hypnotic world of Lois Lenski, January 17, 2010
By 
Andy Rogers "andy" (Northbrook, IL USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Little Fire Engine (Hardcover)
I never cease to be amazed at how our kids are drawn to these books. I mean, the Lenski books are 70 years old. The drawings are goofy as all get out. The wording isn't exactly what I'd have chosen. But the kids love 'em. All our kids request these books over and over. You'll pick up a copy and you'll think, geez, I bet there's something a little newer or cooler. Don't bother. The new stuff will sit on the shelf and dry rot. These old classics have something going on. Why else would they keep issuing new printings?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great toddler library addition, April 17, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I stumbled upon this book and had to go and buy all other board books that were similar. My then 18 month old loved this book and wanted it read continuously and still loves it at 26 months. The pictures are so simple and nostalgic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Adorable, sweet, outdated, teachable moments!, April 1, 2012
This review is from: The Little Fire Engine (Hardcover)
This is a lovely, classic, tidily illustrated book. Simply written and engages preschool age children. As others have pointed out, there are many alarming events - the family returns to the burning home to save their furniture. No one seems to notice that one of the children is still inside the house until she shouts from a window (she may have gone back in to save the cat). And bizarrely, after thoroughly dousing the home and chopping a hole in the roof, the firefighters tell the family to just move right back in. My kids have learned that they should never go back into a burning building, so when we read this we can point out all the things that one should NOT do as the come up in the story. So you get some teachable moments, as well as a thorough understanding of the pumper trucks of the 1940's to boot.
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The Little Fire Engine
The Little Fire Engine by Lois Lenski (Hardcover - October 24, 2000)
$13.95 $10.87
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