Fire Truck vs. Dragon

Little, Brown. Mar. 2020. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780316522137.
PreS-Gr 2–Despite the two titular characters going head-to-head as depicted on the cover, the fire truck and the dragon are actually good friends. The title page spread reveals that the main characters are having a good laugh at the expense of a family of onlookers who have preconceived notions about what fire trucks and dragons are capable of doing. They are a winning team at campfires; with the help of his headlights and a flashlight, dragon creates a super shadow bunny on the tent wall at night. Meanwhile, both parents and baby appear baffled and disappointed that their marshmallows remain untoasted. On a hot summer day, Fire Truck provides snow cones, and on a cold, wintry night Dragon is right there with blankets. Registering the family’s mounting frustration, the friends decide to give the people what they want: “Fire Truck vs. Dragon!!!” Anticipatory smiles quickly vanish as the friends face off…in a staring contest. Still, there is some redemption in the end though much is left to the imagination. The vibrant pencil-and-watercolor cartoon illustrations were edited in Photoshop and feature the radiant red truck and his bright blue friend in a variety of surprising activities; the little family’s responses to them are hilarious and mirror the readers’ sentiments.
VERDICT This companion to Barton’s Shark vs. Train is not only good fun, but also shows children that people with differences can still be friends.

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