|________________ CM . . .
. Volume VIII Number 5 . . . . November 2, 2001
For most hours of the day, our community fire halls are normally quiet places. When walking or driving past, pedestrians and motorists often see smiling firefighters going about their day-to-day tasks, cleaning the trucks, and making sure that they are ready to roll out of the station when the inevitable alarm bell clangs. As the trucks race from the station with sirens blasting, the firefighters never know what dangers might be faced, but they are ready to do the job of saving homes and lives. At the end of it all, the weary firefighters return to the station, but, before falling wearily into bed, they must ensure the equipment is ready because the alarm will surely sound again. Who knows what the job might be?
Lori Lukasewich's text and illustrations capture the duality of a firefighters life: calm versus uproar, tranquility versus chaos. The faces of fire's victims exhibit the fear, horror, and disbelief at seeing their earthly possessions going up in a dense acrid cloud of smoke, wondering if their lives will ever be the same again, and young readers will see that only the courage of a town's firefighters prevents catastrophe. Lukasewich's book is a fine tribute to firefighters and rescue workers wherever they may work, and its publication becomes all the more poignant with the tragic events in New York City, September 11, 2001. Use The Night Fire to remember the hundreds of firefighters, rescue workers, and policemen who died that day. Use the book to remind students of the peril firefighters and rescue workers often face when they go to work and that these brave individuals are prepared to face death when ordinary people's lives are in danger.
Ian Stewart is a Winnipeg teacher and a frequent contributor to CM and the book review pages of the Winnipeg Free Press.
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