Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey

by Maira Kalman (Author) Maira Kalman (Illustrator)

Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade
* "A hundred years from now, when people want to know what we told our children about 9/11, Kalman's book should be among the first answers."--Booklist, starred review

* "Intelligently conveys those unfathomable events in a way that a picture book audience can comprehend. . . . With this inspiring book, Kalman sensitively handles a difficult subject in an age-appropriate manner."--Publishers Weekly, starred review

* "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."--School Library Journal, starred review

* "Exciting, uplifting, and child-sensitive. . . . Revisits the tragedy without the terror and conveys pride without preachiness."--The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, starred review

* "Quintessential New York artist Kalman gives us an idiosyncratic but informative look at a Big Apple institution. . . . Kalman's use of the events of September 11 is honest and honorable, and rarely is she as straightforward as she is here."--The Horn Book, starred review

This is the inspiring true story of the John J. Harvey--a retired New York City fireboat reinstated on September 11, 2001. Originally launched in 1931, the Harvey was the most powerful fireboat of her time. After the September 11 attacks, with fire hydrants at Ground Zero inoperable and the Hudson River's water supply critical to fighting the blaze, the fire department called on the Harvey for help. There were adjustments--forcing water into hoses by jamming soda bottles and wood into nozzles with a sledgehammer--and then the fireboat's volunteer crew pumped much-needed water to the disaster site. The John J. Harvey proved she was still one of New York's Bravest!


Maira Kalman brings a New York City icon to life, celebrating the energy, vitality and hope of a place and its people.


Publishers Weekly

Starred Review
In relating the heroic role of the John J. Harvey on September 11, Kalman (Next Stop Grand Central) intelligently conveys those unfathomable events in a way that a picture book audience can comprehend. She begins with the year 1931, which saw some of New York City's finest hours: "Amazing things were happening big and small./ The Empire State Building went up up up." She continues with the completion of the George Washington Bridge, then zeroes in on the launching of the John J. Harvey, "the largest, fastest and shiniest fireboat of them all." Spot illustrations show its equipment and introduce the crew (including "a dog named Smokey, who did not put out the fires but had many nice spots"), while views of the New York harbor stretch across a spread. She then fast-forwards to 1995: "New York was changing. The Twin Towers were now the tallest buildings in New York City." But the piers are also closing, so the fireboat rests in retirement. One night, a group of friends decide over dinner to restore the John J. Harvey to its original glory. Next, the volume takes an abrupt turn. White type on a black page announces: "But then on September 11, 2001 something so huge and horrible happened that the whole world shook." A sequence of spreads shows the towers literally exploding in dark, angry brushstrokes of black and gray and orange, followed by the many heroes who "sprang into action," including the John J. Harvey. With this inspiring book, Kalman (Next Stop Grand Central) sensitively handles a difficult subject in an age-appropriate manner. Ages 5-up. (Aug.) Copyright 2002 Publishers Weekly Used with permission.

School Library Journal

Starred Review
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 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
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.
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.
Classification
Nonfiction
ISBN-13
9780399239533
Lexile Measure
600L
Guided Reading Level
0
Publication date
August 20, 2002
Series
-
Age Range
4 - 8 years
Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards
Winner 2003
Parents Choice Award (Fall) (1998-2007)
Winner 2002
Georgia Children's Book Award
Nominee 2004
Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Award
Nominee 2004
Red Clover Award
Nominee 2004
South Carolina Childrens, Junior and Young Adult Book Award
Nominee 2006
Volunteer State Book Awards
Nominee 2006
Buckaroo Book Award
Nominee 2005
Monarch Award
Nominee 2008

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