Friday, January 11, 2019

Series Review: Meet a Community Helper Series from Lerner


I know books about community helpers are popular, because when I tried to pull some on firefighters and police officers for a special story time in September, half of them were lost! (Side note: if you ever need a fabulous guest reader, our Chief of Police is your man. I'm still trying to convince someone we should be allowed to trade jobs for a day.)

As much as they are needed, I don't like putting out nonfiction with inaccuracies, regardless of the age level. Initial misinformation can take a long time to unlearn. Unfortunately, in the firefighter book alone, I found several issues.

Accuracies: Many firefighters perform tasks other than fighting fires, such as helping with accidents. Fires can happen in buildings or in forests. Firefighters use oxygen tanks to help them breathe in a fire.

Inaccuracies: The firefighters are shown wearing the exact same outfit (which they apparently bought at Walmart on Halloween) for every situation. On a structure fire. On a wildland fire. On a car accident. On an EMS run. IN THE WATER. And in each, they are wearing a cartoony helmet that DOES NOT COVER THEIR HEADS. Even where it says, and I quote, "Special pants and coats keep Jim safe in fires and protect him against burns." But, apparently, it's okay if Fireman Jim's hair goes up in flames, and the skin on his face melts off like the Nazis at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Don't use an ax to open a window, use your halligan. The fire hose does not carry water. Please don't store it with water in it. I could probably forgive the latter two, but the lack of proper uniform was pretty bad. There were several other kind-of-true-sometimes statements that weren't really WRONG, but needed more clarification.

The illustrations had a few oddities as well. Why were there two bricks on fire, but not the wood floor? Why were the children and teacher in the classroom reaching towards Firefighter Jim like zombies?

Overall, not a book I am going to put on the shelves, or give as a gift.

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