Hamsters Don’t Fight Fires!

Andrew Root, illus. by Jessica Olien. Harper, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-06-245294-8
Firefighters come in all shapes, species, and sizes—at least that’s the case in Hugo the hamster’s busy neighborhood. Though Hugo is not “strong, tall, able to sing, or particularly good at bowling,” he wants to believe that his passion for helping others could earn him a job at the local fire station: “Ever since he was young, he loved the flashing lights of the fire engines and the awesome suits that the firefighters wore.” After a disastrous tryout in front of the chief, Hugo starts to second-guess his career plan, but when he inadvertently accompanies the crew on an emergency call, his courage, swift action, and tininess prove to be assets during a forest fire. In straightforward text peppered with gentle humor, debut author Root blends familiar childhood preoccupations with firefighting and feeling small. The narration doesn’t draw much attention to itself, but it makes a solid case for chasing dreams and leaving one’s comfort zone, and Olien’s boldly colored, action-filled digital cartoons keep the mood light. Ages 4–8. Agent: Brianne Johnson, Writers House. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/21/2017
Release date: 09/01/2017
Genre: Children's
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