Lakshmi Mitter has written a cute little story about overcoming fear. There is no trick to it, Ted, the fire engine, gradually learns that he can do more than he thinks. He uses a helmet to create a feeling of security and safety but, when an emergency happens, he manages to step up without it. It is a reassuring message for children who have trouble dealing with fears.
The drawings are childlike quick ink sketches with probably marker or watercolor. For little boys and girls who enjoy books about fire engines, it may not have enough realism or detail. For toddlers, the subject matter might be a little scary. Even though the drawings are super simple, the emotions of the fire engines, such as Ted’s embarrassment, are portrayed well.
The last line says “I am ready to put out the next fire without any fear!” It might be more helpful for children to realize that fear doesn’t completely go away. Fear is a natural survival mechanism. Instead, we learn to overcome it and cope with it.
As far as I know, airport fire engines do not spray burning airplanes with water. They use foam. A burning airplane would likely have fuel and spraying water will spread it and, subsequently, spread the fire as well. No matter what kind of book it is, it is crucial to get the facts right for children. This is not a book about fire engines. It is a book about facing challenges.
Mitter makes the reader care about the little fire engine and hope he finds the courage to fulfill his potential. Children will invest emotionally in the outcome of this story.