Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey

( 7 )

Overview

The John J. Harvey fireboat was the largest, fastest, shiniest fireboatof its time, but by 1995, the city didn't need old fireboats anymore. So the Harvey retired, until a group of friends decided to save it from the scrap heap. Then, one sunny September day in 2001, something so horrible happened that the whole world shook. And a call came from the fire department, asking if the Harvey could battle the roaring flames. In this inspiring true story, Maira Kalman brings a New York City icon to life and proves that ...

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Overview

The John J. Harvey fireboat was the largest, fastest, shiniest fireboatof its time, but by 1995, the city didn't need old fireboats anymore. So the Harvey retired, until a group of friends decided to save it from the scrap heap. Then, one sunny September day in 2001, something so horrible happened that the whole world shook. And a call came from the fire department, asking if the Harvey could battle the roaring flames. In this inspiring true story, Maira Kalman brings a New York City icon to life and proves that old heroes never die.

Winner of the 2003 Boston Globe/Horn Book Award (Nonfiction category)

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In a starred review, PW wrote, "In relating the heroic role of the John J. Harvey on September 11, 2001, Kalman intelligently conveys those unfathomable events in a way that a picture book audience can comprehend." Ages 3-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3-Kalman's hip, high-energy paintings portray American life in 1931: the Empire State Building is constructed, Babe Ruth hits his 611th home run, "Snickers" is invented, and the John J. Harvey is launched to fight fires on New York piers. In its heyday, the boat is the creme de la creme, but toward the end of the century as the piers start to close, it is forced into retirement, soon to become scrap. Amazingly, a group of friends decides to tackle a restoration, and the John J. Harvey is called upon to fight its worst blaze ever. The fireboat's role on September 11 calls for a shift in the book's mood and style. The transition is signaled with a quiet page of white text on gray-no art. The spread of the expressionistic explosion is followed by portraits of community helpers. The climax is depicted on a black background with the firefighters, appearing as blue, kinetic outlines, furiously battling the blazing orange, red, and yellow flames with long lines of white spray. Fireboat does many things. It sets forth an adventure, helps commemorate an anniversary, offers an interesting bit of history, celebrates the underdog, and honors the fire-fighting profession. Children and adults will respond to it in as many ways.-Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
It is a truth universally acknowledged that many young children are obsessed with fire-fighting vehicles. Whether this true story of a New York City fireboat will satisfy them remains to be seen. Kalman begins with the familiar bright colors, playful language, and intriguing facts of her previous works (What Pete Ate From A to Z, 2001, etc.). Details of 1931 New York when the Harvey was launched, its crew, its gear, and its work fill these early pages. A jump to 1995, announced on a white page with a small illustration, brings the story of how the Harvey, slated for the scrap heap, is discovered and refurbished by a disparate group of New Yorkers. Then there is another colorless page, this one gray and denuded of illustration, announcing another date: September 11, 2001. What comes next is intense, disturbing, and beautiful. There is that blue sky, those white towers, and the two planes heading for them. Here are the buildings collapsing. There are the fires, day and night. And here is the Harvey and its crew helping along with so many others. A return to cheerful language scattered about a spectacular double spread of the New York City skyline at sunset brings the work to an optimistic conclusion. This well-intentioned, but muddled mix of New York City history, fireboat operation, and 9/11 memorial will need adults on hand to answer the many questions bound to arise. (Picture book. 5-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780142403624
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/28/2005
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 166,413
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.04 (w) x 10.04 (h) x 0.14 (d)

Meet the Author

Maira Kalman

In her own words: "born. bucolic childhood. culture-stuffed adolescence. played piano. stopped. danced. stopped. wrote. discarded writing. drew. reinstated writing. married Tibor Kalman and collaborated at iconoclastic yet successful design studio. wrote and painted children's books. worried. took up Ping-Pong. relaxed. wrote and painted for many magazines.  cofounded the Rubber Band Society. amused. children: two. dog: one."

Biography

Maira Kalman is an award-winning artist, illustrator, and product designer. She has illustrated numerous covers for The New Yorker magazine and has written and illustrated more than a dozen children's books. Her articles and illustrations have appeared in The New York Times, Newsweek, Interview, and many other publications. Kalman has designed products for the Museum of Modern Art under the M&Co. label, fabric for Isaac Mizrahi, accessories for Kate Spade, and sets for Mark Morris Dance Group. A teacher of graduate design at the School of Visual Arts, she lives in New York with her two children and a dog.

Author biography courtesy of the New York Public Library.

Good To Know

Kalman told us that she is the co-founder of the Rubber Band Society, is looking for a job in a café, adores ping-pong, and is very, very neat.

"My short attention span has allowed me a life of diversity in work and place, Kalman explains. "I work for The New Yorker, The New York Times, and other publications. I design products for The Museum of Modern Art. I design fabrics, and accessories for Kate Spade, fabric for Isaac Mizrahi."

"I travel as much as I can without being miserable from jet lag," she reveals. "I always remember that I don't really know what I am doing, and armed with that knowledge am very sure of myself."

Kalman reflects, "I consider my work to be about humor and love of life, and can do that when I am not terrified, which is often, but there you go."

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    1. Hometown:
      New York, New York
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 15, 1949
    2. Place of Birth:
      Tel Aviv, Israel
    1. Education:
      New York University, 1967-70
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 7 )
Rating Distribution

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(4)

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(1)

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 20, 2012

    Amazing Retelling of Modern History

    This book is a must for elementary school teachers or any parent who wants to teach their children about the horrific events of 9 - 11. This true story tells the amazing tale of the John J. Harvey, a once-great, de-commissioned and forgotten fireboat on the Hudson River. The text and illustrations are wonderful, descriptive without being graphic.

    As a NYC school teacher and someone who lost friends that awful day, I highly recommend this beautiful book for children and adults.

    Never Forget!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2012

    Awesome

    Superb story! Not politicaly correct.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 4, 2011

    Great way to discuss a sensitive topic

    This story has wonderful illustrations and tells the story of the terrorist attacks of 9/11 in a sensitive and informative way. Great for use with young children or with older students for a short story to share in History or Social Studies classes.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2002

    great art, greater story

    I bought this book because I am a huge fan of her work. I found myself moved so deeply by the story. Basically it showed that we can all be a hero.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 10, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews

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