cover image Fire! ¡Fuego! Brave Bomberos

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. Ages 3–6. (Apr.)