I suspect that every person who has spent time with a young child can attest to the depth of emotion that a beloved object or topic can evoke:
Squeals of pure delight at the sight of the moon.
Refusal to nap until the beloved trash truck rounds the corner.
Super human strength exhibited as rocks are clenched in a tiny fist.
Rapid breathing upon hearing a lawn mower’s engine start within a 3 mile radius.
Yeah, all that really happened.
This series is an ode to those special topics. I’m calling it Obsession, Meet Book. I’ll be pairing commonly adored topics with books geared toward toddlers and preschoolers, with a smattering of older level books. If you have a topic suggestion, I would love to hear it! I am basing my list upon a super informal survey on my facebook page, but the topics resonated with the little ones I’ve known!
First up: Fire Trucks! This topic was requested by a reader for her soon-to-be 3 year old who will be having a fire truck birthday party. So fun! I decided to use her message as my inspiration to get moving on this series idea that’s been on the back burner for way too long. (Like, my kids have adopted new obsessions since I first thought of the idea. Oops. But yay for new fodder for writing! lol.)
Fire Engine No. 9 by Mike Austin. Perfect for toddlers with short attention spans! Brightly colored yet detailed illustrations with lots to talk about, two pages of fire related objects rounded up with labels, and the story is told almost entirely in sound words: “Alert! Alert! Fire! Fire! Fire! Whoosh! Whoosh!”
A Fire Truck Named Red by Randall de Seve. This is a sweet inter-generational story (and would make a nice gift from a grandparent!) that celebrates the power of imagination.
I’m Brave by Kate McMullan. Another short attention span option. Includes a nice variety of vocabulary and an invitation to match the terms with pictures.
Gingerbread Man Loose On the Fire Truck by Laura Murray. This is part of a series following the Gingerbread Man in various adventures (at school, the zoo, and a Christmas themed one) and my Preschool Bookworm has enjoyed them all. Although it’s a rhyming story, the illustrations are comic style with several vignette scenes on each page. Slightly older crowd for this one (preschool/early elem).
Firehouse by Mark Teague. If you’ve got a dog loving bookworm along with a fire truck loving bookworm, this is the ticket! Mark Teague is better known for his LaRue series, but Firehouse has similar bold illustrations.
Fireman Small by Wong Herbert Yee. A nice rhyming story with sweet watercolor illustrations. Includes many animals in the illustrations which is extra fun for many toddler bookworms.
Firefighters A to Z by Chris Demarest. This one is so well done! It’s both a rhyming book and an alphabet book, AND it chronologically follows a firefighter’s day responding to a call! It’s written by an active volunteer firefighter, and he includes a very informative author’s note explaining vocabulary terms and what it’s like to be a firefighter.
Flashing Fire Engines by Tony Mitton. Bright, inviting pictures accompany rhyming text and lots of sound words, with sparse text per page. Good for shorter attention spans. Part of an extensive series called Amazing Machines– including Cool Cars which was a gift for my race car loving nephew a full year ago and it’s still in rotation.
The Fire Cat by Esther Averill. A classic from 1960, this is an “I Can Read” book and is 64 pages long; it offers more than a fire fighting story, focusing on the cat’s search for something meaningful to do with his life!
For older readers or those with longer attention spans:
Magnus at the Fire by Jennifer Armstrong. Reminiscent of Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel and Otis, Magnus is a historical fiction tale in which Magnus, the trained horse who pulls the steam pumper, has been replaced by a fancy new motorized fire engine. When the new engine breaks down, Magnus steps in and saves the day. This is a significantly longer story than those recommended above, and includes lots of drama alongside of impressive illustrations.
Mercy Watson to the Rescue and series by Kate DiCamillo. We adore the early chapter book series Mercy Watson, and somehow the fire department gets involved in nearly every episode of this series! Ned and Lorenzo always come to the rescue- whether for beds collapsing into the floor boards or feline General Washington stuck up the tree- and they always end up enjoying toast with a great deal of butter alongside of Mercy.
I hope these light a literacy fire under your bookworms! (Sorry, there had to be at least one fire related pun in this post!) I hope you enjoy these titles together with your fire loving bookworms! If you have other suggestions we should know about, please share them in the comments or on our Facebook page.
I was going to include ideas for imaginative play along with book suggestions, but in my house it seems that they don’t need any actual props. My instant pot pressure release valve inspires them to run for their “hose” (a ruler) to put out the blaze! LOL. But, this kit does look like fun and pop up tents are always a hit!
May you always save the day!
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