Reviews for Firehouse Light

Booklist Reviews 2010 June #1
Starting with volunteer firefighters "a long time ago," this picture book explains and shows how firefighting and a community transform through time. A four-watt bulb installed in the firehouse during horse-and-buggy days glows through decades of change: from horses to automobiles; from axes and buckets to hoses and oxygen masks; from radios to television and computers: and from small town to contemporary city. The narrative successfully knits firefighting and history into a fast dash through the twentieth century, ending with a final page that explains that this account is based on fact. A real 109-year-old four-watt bulb continues to light a firehouse in Livermore, California. Flat, folk-style acrylic illustrations feature fluid, sinewy human figures amid a variety of vintage fire trucks. A good choice for children who seek offbeat nonfiction, this is also a fresh approach for units on community helpers. Copyright 2010 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2010 Fall
Back when "fires were fought with buckets, axes, and hand-pulled carts," a fire department plugs in its first electric light, a four-watt bulb. This amazing bulb continues to glow throughout all the changes and modernizations to the fire department and town over the next one-hundred-plus years. The folk-art-style illustrations help provide historical context for this true story. Copyright 2010 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2010 April #2
At 109 years old and still burning (and in the Guinness Book of World Records), a real light bulb hanging in a California firehouse not only merits admiration for its durability but also provides a natural anchor for a look at how a small settlement grows over a century into a city. Nolan takes it decade by decade as, in Lafrance's folk art-style acrylics, ever-larger buildings go up around one fire house after another, a hand-pulled hose cart gives way to a succession of fire trucks and the professional firefighters who succeed volunteer companies put out fires, perform rescues and march in parades. Beneath the bulb they welcome generations of marveling visitors in changing period dress. Unlike Juliette Goodrich's Little Light Shines Bright, illustrated by Roseanne Lester (2008), there's but one actual photo, but the little-town-over-time theme--and the fire trucks--exert plenty of child-friendly appeal. The bulb has its own website and webcam. (afterword) (Informational picture book. 6-8) Copyright Kirkus 2010 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2010 May #2

Nolan (A Father's Day Thank You) tells the story of a four-watt lightbulb that was installed in a California fire station in 1901 and has been burning ever since. She begins "a long time ago," when volunteers fought fires with buckets, axes, and hand-pulled carts with water hoses. Working in smooth tandem, the conversational narrative and Lafrance's (A Wizard in Love) finely detailed, folk art-style acrylics follow the continuum of time, subtly chronicling social, technological, and automotive changes throughout the decades while remaining focused on the constancy of the bulb (the refrain "Day after day, year after year, the lightbulb did not burn out," opens most scenes). Particularly illuminating is the evolution of firefighting equipment, vehicles, and alert systems. In a thoughtful juxtaposition, contemporary firefighters and other emergency responders, red lights flashing, race through the streets of what is now a city, "past halogen, fluorescent and incandescent lights, past neon and strobe lights," while the bulb, glowing "no brighter than a handful of fireflies," hangs by its cord back at the station. A poetic bridge between past and present. Ages 5-9. (May)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2010 September

K-Gr 2--The history of firefighting is told through the story of a four-watt electric lightbulb that was installed in a wooden shack in Livermore, CA, more than 100 years ago. The bulb remained continuously lit as the shack became a fire station and the equipment progressed from horse-drawn carriages and water buckets to the fire engines and hoses of today. Nolan's unassuming storytelling is perfect for reading aloud. The line "Day after day, year after year, the lightbulb did not burn out" introduces each decade and the inventions it brought. Lafrances's acrylic paintings have a traditional, folk-art feeling as rural and small-town scenes evolve into modern cityscapes. An afterword and a photo of the lightbulb still burning today are included. This is a fascinating story that will appeal to those looking for a unique perspective on American cultural history.--Kristine M. Casper, Huntington Public Library, NY

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