The Fire Cat story and pictures by Esther Averill
An I Can Read Book
First Published: 1960
Genre: children, easy reader
Once upon a time, there was a yellow cat with black spots in his fur.
Comments: This is the first "real" book with chapters and full pages of text that my ds has read by himself. The story of a troublesome homeless cat who finds a home and a purpose at the firehouse after he is rescued from a tree in a rain storm. His life comes full circle when he rescues a cat too far out on a thin branch during his duty as fire cat.
A classic children's easy reader. A wonderful, wholesome story that does not show any signs of ageing. One has a feeling that the story is not happening today but rather than feeling old-fashioned it has the air of a very small town about it. Averill's artwork is a joy. Done in red, yellow and black they suit the text wonderfully. I always find it very satisfying when the author has also done the illustrations. Again, the illustrations feel more small town-ish than they do old-fashioned except for that little black corded phone which turns up in a few pictures near the end. Ds enjoyed reading the book, often wanting to read more than his required number of daily pages. He's very fond of animal stories and this one didn't disappoint.
The "An I Can Read Book" series has been around since the mid to late fifties and has in recent times started to be reprinted under the name of "I Can Read!". Many of the old titles are being reprinted under the new series name as of course are new ones, but it is the old titles, one should seek out. The reading level is much more consistent and the authors are some of the greats in children's literature. Esther Averill's The Fire Cat is a book that will never go out of print and is highly recommended as a read aloud to preschool children and as a first reader for children of any age (it is not too babyish for older struggling readers) who are ready to read at this level.
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