Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey

by Maira Kalman

On a sunny day in 1931, the fireboat John J. Harvey first started cruising the waters... read more

On a sunny day in 1931, the fireboat John J. Harvey first started cruising the waters of New York City. For decades the Harvey was part of the city’s fireboat fleet, fighting fires at piers up and down the river until it was just old and worn to continue and was abandoned. In 1995, a small group of friends purchased the Harvey and restored it. When the work was complete, they proudly sailed the Harvey on the water once again—this time the boat was for pleasure rather than work. Until September 11, 2001. On that tragic day, the Harvey went into action as a fireboat once again, its volunteer crew responding to the call for help. At the end of four horrible days, “it was time for the Harvey to go home. Everyone on the boat had never seen anything so terrible. And they had never felt so proud.” Maira Kalman’s history of the John J. Harvey brilliantly and sensitively weaves the events of Sepember 11, 2001, into a narrative about something more, leaving readers with an important understanding of things having come before, and life continuing on. Her lively, engaging, narrative is appropriately spare when addressing events for which words seem to fail, and her captivating, quirky gouache artwork strikes the same fine balance. (Ages 7-10)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2003

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