Book review: Kai to the Rescue, by Audrey Penn, illustrated by Mike Yamada

Penn, Audrey. Kai to the Rescue. Illustrated by Mike Yamada. Orchard Books, 2016. $17.99. ISBN 9780545816366. 40 pages. Ages 3-5. P8 Q8.

Kai, a small, green pumper joins a team of fire trucks. The Captain thinks Kai cannot fight fires because he is too small and not red, like the other fire trucks. The other two fire trucks, Emily and Rudy, encourage Kai when the Captain puts him down. Kai colors himself so he will fit in. The four trucks arrive at a forest fire to put it out. The captain will not let him fight the fire because it is too dangerous. In the end, Kai puts out a fire the other trucks were not able to reach. The Captain admits that he was wrong and that size and color do not matter. The book has digital cartoon illustrations, which are fun and whimsical. The expressions on the faces of the trucks add to the story.

Verdict: The story teaches perseverance and grit. Kai did not give up, he kept trying to find a place to be useful. The book stimulates discussion on how to stand up for others when they are put down. I recommend this book for classroom libraries and elementary school libraries.

December 2016 review by Tami Harris.

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