Favorite characters and companion titles ring in the holidays. Fireman Small replaces a sleepy Santa in A Small Christmas by Wong Herbert Yee. The diminutive hero finds Kris Kringle covered in soot in the coal bin; the wee fellow inadvertently shrinks the famous red suit in the dryer, and winds up delivering gifts around town via fire truck in Santa's stead. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Fireman Small's newest adventure takes place at Christmastime. Since no calls have come in, he helps the mayor select a Christmas tree at Beaver's Tree Farm and brings the tree back to town on the ladder truck. From the ladder he decorates the top while watching the hustle and bustle in town below. A tired Fireman Small climbs into bed on Christmas eve but is awakened by a crash. He discovers that Santa has fallen into the coal bin. Fireman Small washes and dries Santa's suit and then discovers it has shrunk. While Santa is asleep in Small's bed, the fireman loads the toys on his truck. Dressed in Santa's suit, he delivers all the toys. On Christmas morning he finds a thank you note from Santa who has left the tiny suit for him. Yee's watercolor illustrations are full of humor and joy and interesting little details. The page showing the arrival of Santa as a shadowy nighttime figure, and the two subsequent pictures in which Fireman Small is shining the flashlight on him are an interesting contrast to the more brightly colored illustrations. The rhyming text moves jauntily along, just the way our little fireman hero does. There is a nice message, too, about giving one's time and energy to make others happy. Put this on your list of new titles to add to your holiday collection. 2004, Houghton Mifflin, Ages 3 to 6.
Children's Literature - Allison Brown
Fireman Small, the only fireman in his town, occupies himself with preparing for the busiest time of the year: Christmas. He handles the tasks of helping the major pick out the town Christmas tree, untangling Christmas lights, and hanging the ornaments on the tree. Exhausted, Fireman Small heads back to the firehouse to relax and wait for Santa Claus, because it is Christmas Eve. During the night, Fireman Small hears a crash and goes downstairs to investigate the source of the commotion. Lo and behold, it is Santa himself. To help Santa, Small cleans his red suit, which is filthy from coal. Unfortunately, Santa's outfit shrinks in the wash. Small's dilemma continues when he finds Santa asleep. Being the upstanding person he is, Fireman Small decides to deliver the rest of Santa's gifts. He gets dressed in Santa's shrunken suit and tries to gather the reindeer to head off into the night, but to his horror, the reindeer will not budge. Fireman Small decides to take the fire truck instead, and off he goes, one by one, to all the townspeople. After he has finished distributing presents, he goes back to the station and heads to bed. When he awakes the next morning, Santa and the reindeer are gone, and the only things left are a note and a tiny present made just for him. Wong Herbert Yee uses watercolors to create cartoon-like illustrations that make the book colorful and more appealing to children who may read it. The illustrations go well with the way Yee wanted to portray his version of a Christmas story, but it is just as relatable as any other customary children's Christmas story. Reviewer: Allison Brown
School Library Journal
PreS-K-After a busy day helping Mayor Mole obtain and decorate the town Christmas tree, Fireman Small (a one-man fire department) returns to Station 9 for a well-earned rest and is awakened by Santa, who has fallen in the coal bin. Fireman Small washes and dries his red suit, but finds that it has shrunk and that Santa is fast asleep in his bed. The resourceful helper hops into his fire truck to finish delivering the last of the presents, saving Christmas. Readers will enjoy the same easy-flowing, rhyming text, nicely paced tension, and comical, charming watercolor cartoons found in the previous "Fireman Small" titles (Houghton).-M. W. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
It's Fireman Small to the rescue once again. When Santa falls into the firehouse's coal bin, and his soiled red outfit comes out of the washing machine waaaaaay shrunken, there's nothing for it but for Small to put it on, load up the fire truck with gifts, and head out to make those eagerly awaited deliveries. As in the diminutive do-gooder's three previous outings, Yee combines a patchily rhymed text-"Fireman Small speeds along to the next house / Dropping off presents for Possum and Mouse," etc-with engaging watercolors featuring a pint-sized, dot-eyed, brown-skinned local hero solemnly doing what needs to be done. And, in the end, Small wakes from an exhausted slumber on Christmas Day to find a little package from Santa just for him under the firehouse tree. A well-timed reminder that small bodies can hold big hearts. (Picture book. 5-7)
From the Publisher
Readers will enjoy the same easy-flowing, rhyming text, nicely paced tension, and comical, charming watercolor cartoons found in the previous "Fireman Small" titles.
School Library Journal
Yee's rhyming text bounces along effortlessly, while amusing details in the cheery watercolors add to the holiday fun.
A well-timed reminder that small bodies can hold big hearts.
Though the story told in rhymed couplets will hold children's interet, the artwork will captivate them. Like Yee's original Fireman Small (1996)...this has plenty of appeal.