cover image Roto and Roy: Helicopter Heroes (Roto and Roy)

Roto and Roy: Helicopter Heroes (Roto and Roy)

Sherri Duskey Rinker, illus. by Don Tate. Little, Brown, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-316-53496-3

When a lightning strike results in a canyon fire, the job of extinguishing it is tailor-made for green-eyed helicopter Roto (“fueled and ready, brave and strong./ Her shiny wings are tough and long”) and brown-skinned human pilot Roy, who is the very model of broad-shouldered bravery (“With fists on hips, and massive height,/ Big Roy Thunder blocks the light”). With a “Whup-Whup-Whup-Whup-Whup!” the two rise into the air; Rinker’s (Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site) brisk, bouncy rhymes and Tate’s (William Still and His Freedom Stories) crisp, curvilinear digital cartoons vividly chronicle the duo’s firefighting heroics. The copter’s hose sucks up thousands of gallons from a nearby lake and releases them on the inferno in a centerpiece scene that offers a worm’s-eye view of water hitting the flames. In a crowd-pleasing finish, two vertical spreads depict Roto and Roy rescuing a stray dachshund trapped at the cliff, then returning home to Hangar One (the happy pup sits on Roy’s lap as he steers the copter), where “The flying duo is now three.” It’s the ideal story for any reader who yearns for straight-up selfless heroism from people and vehicles alike. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Lori Kilkelly, LK Literary Agency. Illustrator’s agent: Caryn Wiseman, Andrea Brown Literary. (Feb.)