Monday, May 6, 2019

Review - The Fire Station

The Fire Station
by Robert Munsch
illustrated by Michael Martchenko
Date: 1982
Publisher: Annick Press
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 24
Format: e-book
Source: library

This story starts out with a familiar premise: Michael and Sheila visit a fire station. But then the Munsch flair for imaginative insight and humor take over. While the two kids are exploring a fire truck, an alarm goes off—and away go Michael and Sheila to the rescue!

(synopsis from Goodreads)

It's funny how some of these books live up to my memory of them... and how some of them don't. Unfortunately, this book falls into the latter category. I remember really liking this when I was a kid, and thinking it was hilarious. But as an adult, I find it unrealistic, odd, a bit dated, and rather short.

Michael and Sheila are walking past a fire station. Sheila basically drags her friend inside (after they ask permission, of course) and they look at all the fire trucks. When an alarm goes off, Sheila pulls Michael into the back seat of the fire truck they're in at the time, and they end up going to the fire. There, they're exposed to "yucky-colored smoke", which leaves them looking like they've just come from a Holi celebration. When each of them return home, their parents don't recognize them because they're so dirty. Eventually, though, they both end up being bathed. And the next time they're walking down the street, they pass a police station...

I kind of like the fact that it's Sheila who's portrayed as the adventurous one (while Michael wants to consult his mother and his father before doing anything). What I don't really like is how sexist and stereotyped the careers of firefighting and policing are. Firefighters are referred to as firemen, and all the cops are male, too. I realize this book is from the 1980s, but it would be nice if the book could be updated to reflect today's reality.

Unfortunately, this isn't as good as I remembered. Oh, well. There are plenty of other Munsch/Martchenko titles that have stood the test of time.

Premise: 3/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 3/5
Illustrations: 3/5
Originality: 4/5

Enjoyment: 2/5

Overall: 2.83 out of 5

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