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The Firehouse Lightby Janet Nolan
Synopses & Reviews
Day after day, year after year,
the lightbulb did not burn out.
Here is the true story of a little lightbulb, located in a firehouse, that has stayed lit for more than one hundred years. As horse-drawn carriages make room for automobiles, dirt roads give way to paved streets, and new buildings transform small clusters of homes into bustling neighborhoods, a small town grows and changes. And fighting fires changes, too: fires once fought by bucket brigades and hand-pulled hose carts are now attended by full-time firefighters and modern firetrucks. Yet now, just like then, the lightbulb glows, strong and steady, above the brave firefighters and their trucks.
"Nolan (A Father's Day Thank You) tells the story of a four-watt lightbulb that was installed in a California fire station in 1901 and has been burning ever since. She begins 'a long time ago,' when volunteers fought fires with buckets, axes, and hand-pulled carts with water hoses. Working in smooth tandem, the conversational narrative and Lafrance's (A Wizard in Love) finely detailed, folk art — style acrylics follow the continuum of time, subtly chronicling social, technological, and automotive changes throughout the decades while remaining focused on the constancy of the bulb (the refrain 'Day after day, year after year, the lightbulb did not burn out,' opens most scenes). Particularly illuminating is the evolution of firefighting equipment, vehicles, and alert systems. In a thoughtful juxtaposition, contemporary firefighters and other emergency responders, red lights flashing, race through the streets of what is now a city, 'past halogen, fluorescent and incandescent lights, past neon and strobe lights,' while the bulb, glowing 'no brighter than a handful of fireflies,' hangs by its cord back at the station. A poetic bridge between past and present. Ages 5 — 9. (May)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
JANET NOLAN has written two previous picture books and lives in Oak Park, Illinois. About The Firehouse Light, Janet says, “The lightbulb has been the subject of numerous newspaper and magazine articles, television and radio shows. It has caught the attention of Ripley’s Believe It or Not and the Guinness Book of World Records.” Janet currently serves as Program Co-Chair for the Illinois chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).
MARIE LAFRANCE has illustrated more than twenty children’s books and is originally from Quebec City. She studied graphic arts at CEGEP in Vieux-Montréal and etching at Studio Graff. Marie has lived in San Francisco and New York, where she worked as a silk-screen printmaker for various galleries. She returned to Montreal to work as a freelance illustrator and has been nominated for many awards, including the prestigious Governor General’s Award. Marie lives with her partner and their daughter, Béatrice.
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