Fire! ¡Fuego! Brave Bomberos
Susan Middleton Elya, illus. by Dan Santat. Bloomsbury, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-59990-461-0
“With more than 20 picture books to her name, Elya has built her career on stories that deftly incorporate Spanish vocabulary words into English verse. Her latest salutes a team of firefighters—among them, Juan, José, Carlota, and Hector—who race into action. “ ‘House fire!’ says el capitan./ ‘¡Fuego! Get your helmets on!’/ Down the pole they grab their gear./ ‘¡Rápido! We’re out of here!’ ” Elya’s verse never falters, and it fuels the story’s tension and drama. The text provides ample fodder for Santat’s colored pencil illustrations, which incorporate digital elements, as well as the thematically appropriate use of fire and water. Certain pages are singed during the height of the fire, others are stained with water after the bomberos break out their hose. “Aim el agua, hear the sizzle—/ soon they make las flamas fizzle.” The meanings of most of the Spanish words can be inferred from context, and a glossary is also included. The firefighters’ determination, grit, and camaraderie—all fully evident in Santat’s cinematically action-packed scenes—are sure to bolster childhood ambitions of joining their ranks.” – Publishers Weekly
Fire! Fuego! Brave Bomberos.
Elya, Susan Middleton (Author) , Santat, Dan (Illustrator)
“At the station, sirens sound. / Corazones start to pound.” So begins this race to save a burning casa from
roaring flames. Like No More, Por Favor (2010), also by Elya, this story meshes English and Spanish in
verse to express the courage and dedication of bomberos Juan, José, Carlota, and Héctor as they rush out
of the station to do their jobs. Elya’s fiery pace and rhythm—“Aim el agua, hear the sizzle— / Soon they
make las flamas fizzle”—are matched by Santat’s masterfully designed illustrations. His colored-pencil
and mixed-media spreads suggest movement across the page, and the brave bomberos’ carefully crafted
expressions provide deeper understandings of the heroism and devotion they encounter with each run.
Elya’s lines are often layered into the illustrations as characters’ speech bubbles, making each turn of the
page feel like a scene cut from an action film. All those young bomberos in the making will want to read
this one again and again.
FIRE! FUEGO! BRAVE BOMBEROS
“Elya has proven herself a master at painlessly weaving Spanish vocabulary into her stories, and this latest is no exception. Four bomberos and el capitán race to gear up and get to the fire after the alarm sounds. As humo fills the sky, they work together to aim the hose and douse las flamas. Firefighting is a perennially popular topic, and while the actual story here is rather unexceptional, Elya makes this book stand out in other ways. Yes, there are Dalmatians in the station and a fire pole to slide down. There is danger and the rescue of a cat. But there is also a woman on this firefighting team, and as always, Elya’s rhyming couplets are a joy to read aloud. Context clues as well as words that are close to English make most of the Spanish vocabulary easy to decode. A glossary helps readers with any they may be unsure of and provides pronunciation help. Santat’s illustrations also help to set this firefighter book apart. From the first page, he thrusts readers into the action with up-close views created with colored pencil, water on ink print, fire and Photoshop. His firefighters are real people with needs, interests and fears, who sweat and get dirty. This winner is sure to find a spot on shelves, although it won’t stay there long.” – Kirkus Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brave Bomberos!, May 11, 2012
This review is from: Fire! Fuego! Brave Bomberos (Hardcover)
As a story time leader, I usually steer clear of books with Spanish words, as I only speak English and find myself intimidated by pronunciations. I have enough trouble with the names of dinosaurs! I like books to flow and rhyme well, and Fire! Fuego! Brave Bomberos seamlessly incorporates two languages without losing its read aloud flow. The author brilliantly includes thirty eight Spanish words into this story of firefighters battling a blaze, saving a "gatito", and returning to the fire house, only to be called out again for another "E-MER-GEN-CIA!" The text is written in a manner that makes it hard to mispronounce the Spanish words, but if you need additional help, the author has thoughtfully included a pronunciation guide for those of us who might require a bit of practice before reading this fun story in front of a group. All of the rhymes are spot on, and the subject matter and length make this a perfect choice for preschool story time.
Dan Santat's illustrations are as brilliant as ever, as he perfectly captures the look of steely determination on the firefighter's faces as they battle the blaze, their kindness as they rescue the kitten, and their bleary eyes as they are once again awakened in the middle of the night to fight yet another blaze. Orange and red hues predominate, and the appearance of burned edges on some of the pages will only add to the thrill for young readers.
Fire! Fuego! Brave Bomberos is an excellent choice for story time or for any young reader with an interest in firefighters. It's a great story, seamlessly written and visually stunning. Don't miss out on what is sure to be a fine addition to any collection.