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Two New Fire Safety Titles Will Spark Student Interest!

Share It's Fire Prevention Week, time to look at the latest books about fire safety. Two hot new titles are sure to spark the interest of readers of all ages. Take a look with us at No Dragons for Tea, a charming new picture book for young readers, and Firefighting: Behind the Scenes, an excellent new non-fiction title for upper elementary and middle school students.

No Dragons Book Cover

"...As I raced down the hill in my little red wagon,
I veered to the left and smacked into a dragon...
He sheepishly grinned and stepped out of the way,
But he seemed so polite that I asked him to play."

An innocent -- and far-fetched -- enough way to begin a new picture book for children!... By the time readers get to page 5, the little girl (the "I" of the story) has invited her newfound friend to tea. That's where the title of the book, No Dragons to Tea, (Kids Can Press) comes from -- and where the trouble begins!

Soon, a little dose of pepper applied to a teatime snack leads to a dragon-sized


The dragon's firey sneeze turns the tablecloth and nearby curtains into a blaze of flames!

Not to worry! The little girl knows exactly what to do. While the dragon's first reaction is to dive under the rug for cover, the little girl stays cool and calm. She saves the dragon and her own family from harm, imparting rhyming fire safety lessons as she goes. Soon firefighters arrive to put out the fire and congratulate our young heroine.

Jean Pendziwol's playful rhyming text will charm young readers as it reinforces primary-grade fire safety lessons. They'll also love Martine Gourbault's colored-pencil drawings.

Closing out this appealing and engaging book is "The Dragon's Fire-Safety Rhyme," which young kids will want to recite together or learn on their own; and a handy checklist that can be used by kids and families to develop a fire safety action plan.

No Dragons for Tea would make a nice addition to any teacher's fire prevention lessons this week, and a great permanent addition to any school or classroom library!


Firiefighting Book Cover Most fire safety books are written for very young readers. Firefighting: Behind the Scenes is a rarity -- a fire safety book for older students. Written in matter-of-fact reporting style by Maria Mudd-Ruth, this new volume fills a hard-to-fill space on library shelves.

Upper elementary and middle school readers, especially those with a possible interest in firefighting careers, will eat up the information provided in Mudd-Ruth's text and in Scott Sroka's crystal clear photographs of firefighters at work.

Mudd-Ruth begins her in-depth exploration of firefighting with a little history lesson. Did you know, for instance, that in 1736 Benjamin Franklin helped found the very first fire department in the colonies? Did you know that George Washington was a volunteer firefighter? Do you know how it is that Dalmatians came to be common firehouse companions? The answers to those questions are just a few of the things you'll learn in the brief history that opens this text.

Then it's on to the nitty-gritty.

Firefighting: Behind the Scenes is a detailed look at firefighters at work. As they busily perform their duties at the scene of a fire, one might wonder How do they know what to do first?, Why did they chop a hole in the roof?, Who is in charge?... Those questions and many more are answered in this book's jam-packed 64 pages. Readers will learn about the training of firefighters, the clothing they wear and how it protects them, how firefighters live at the stationhouse, why their work isn't done when the fire is out, and much more. In ten informative chapters, Firefighting: Behind the Scenes earns its title!

Important and valuable lessons about fire safety are made clearly in the pages of this new book from Houghton-Mifflin. But there are other lessons to be learned here as well. Students will gain new respect for the work firefighters do, especially for the teamwork involved in their jobs! In great detail, Mudd-Ruth differentiates the roles of many firefighters -- including the ladder company and engine company firefighters, and the rookies too -- at the scene of a large fire. To the untrained eye the flashing lights, the scattered hoses, and firefighters running everywhere might look like chaos. But, with Mudd-Ruths' help, readers will come to appreciate that -- "behind the scenes" -- the commotion is very carefully choreographed.

Students will learn the lingo too. They'll learn what the expression "meet the bear" means to a firefighter, what a "charged line" is, what the incident commander does, why the letters SCBA are important to firefighters -- and much more.

And, of course, they'll learn about fire safety at home. The closing pages of Firefighting: Behind the Scenes offer a valuable refresher course in what families should do before, during, and after fire strikes.

Librarians -- make this Fire Prevention Week a memorable one. Order these two new titles for your library shelves!

The books above are available in bookstores. If your local bookstore doesn't have the book you want, ask your bookseller to order it for you or contact the publisher:

  • No Dragons for Tea: Fire Safety for Kids (and Dragons), written by Jean Pendziwol and illustrated by Martine Gourbault, is published by Kids Can Press, 85 River Rock Drive, Suite 202, Buffalo, New York 14207.

  • Firefighting: Behind the Scenes, written by Maria Mudd-Ruth with photographs by Scott Sroka, is published by Houghton Mifflin Company, 215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003.
  • Article by Gary Hopkins
    Education World® Editor-in-Chief
    Copyright © 1999 Education World

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