cover image DOT THE FIRE DOG


Lisa Desimini, . . Scholastic/Blue Sky, $15.95 (34pp) ISBN 978-0-439-23322-4

Desimini's (Sun & Moon) day in the life of a firehouse dog seems uncharacteristically dull. The events themselves offer drama—firefighters rescue a man in a burning house while Dot rescues the man's kitten—but the matter-of-fact text and the static oil paintings are so low-key that they do not convey the excitement inherent in the plot. Devoid of dialogue or imagery, the narrative is occasionally interrupted by directives to the characters: "They pull on their big rubber boots and put on their pants and their jackets. Don't forget your helmets. You, too, Dot." But whether they are running, eating a bowl of soup or sliding down the firehouse pole, the multicultural men and women of the firehouse seem frozen in space. Their faces remain grim whether they are putting out the fire or playing checkers. The fire safety tips at the book's conclusion may be useful for fire safety lessons but, despite the cheery Dalmatian-spotted endpapers, this is a rather antiseptic view of these everyday heroes at work. Ages 3-up. (Oct.)