The Fire Cat (An I Can Read Book)

by Esther Averill

Hardcover, 1960



Call number




Harper & Row (1960), Edition: 1ST, 64 pages


Pickles, a homeless, friendless cat who finally is taken at the firehouse and becomes a fire cat.

User reviews

LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
Pickles was well on his way to life as a feline delinquent. A cat with big paws and a longing to do big things, the boredom of his aimless, friendless existence as a street-cat had turned him into a bully. Luckily, his neighbor Mrs. Goodkind wasn't ready to give up on him. She understood that he
Show More
wasn't a good cat OR a bad cat, but a good AND bad cat, and that what he needed was a sense of purpose. Then one fateful day, when Pickles found himself stuck in a tree, the local fire department appeared on the scene...

Esther Averill's The Fire Cat was one of my childhood favorites, and I must have read and re-read it a hundred times. Like all great children's books, it functions on more than one level. As a straight-forward narrative about a homeless cat who finds a home and family, it is an engaging and heart-warming story, with all the appeal of the classic "orphan" tale. As a teaching tool, Averill's simple story manages to offer a keenly observed social commentary, all without ever descending into any sort of didactic display. The young reader will absorb the idea that sometimes poor behavior (such as bullying) is the result of poor circumstances, rather than "simple" malice, and that there are more creative (and effective) solutions than condemnation.

I am always amazed at the great skill and discipline required to create a successful picture book or early reader. The truly great children's authors somehow manage to write stories that are emotionally involving and intellectually stimulating, all with a limited word choice that would stymie an author of adult fiction. Not a word is out of place in such books, whose simplicity can be deceptive...

Finally, as a side note, I have discovered that Esther Averill wrote an entire series of books about the neighborhood cats depicted in this title, none of which were known to me as a child. I can hardly wait to dive in!
Show Less
LibraryThing member t1bclasslibrary
This is a book about Pickles, a naughty cat who wants to do great things. Pickles spends all his time chasing other cats and won’t live even in a very nice house, but when he’s rescued by firemen, he is given a chance to live at the firehouse. He works very hard to be good there, and they keep
Show More
him. At the end of the book he rescues another cat from a tree.
Show Less
LibraryThing member eecnelsen
Pickles the cat finds a friend Mrs. Goodkind he gets trapped in a tree and gets taken home by the firemen. Pickles causes lots of trouble but becomes the firehouse mascot. This book is simular to Curious George or Amilia Bedelia in the way that the character is always in trouble yet very loveble
LibraryThing member justineaylward
One of my favorites. Shows how we can even misunderstand ourselves. A story of Pickles, who was kind of a bully and dissatisfied with his life, until he meets Mrs. Goodkind who helps him to fulfill his potential.
LibraryThing member kimbrady
"The Fire Cat" tells the story of Pickles, a "mixed up" stray, and his journey towards goodness. One of the ideas in this book is that everyone can be good and helpful if they try, and find the right outlet. The book is illustrated simply, all in red, yellow, black, and white. The focus is on the
Show More
text, which is designed with common words for beginning readers. It is a level 1 "I Can Read" book, especially for grades PreS-1. This would make a good addition to a first grade classroom or a school library.
Show Less
LibraryThing member betsyeggers
This is a wonderful book about a cat that wants very badly to fit in, but has trouble doing so. Only after he is rescued from a tree does he realize his calling as a fire cat. This is a great book for children who have been reading and are ready to start reading easy chapter books. There is also a
Show More
lesson to the story about mistreating other. You see, Pickles was mean to other cats around him until he came met Joe the firefighter, and then he was kind to all the other cats and even rescued them from trees. I recommend this book for my library (medium public library).
Show Less
LibraryThing member ALelliott
Honest, I chose this book in honor of my husband, who is studying to become a fire fighter, but it quickly revealed itself to be a great little story about reaching for your dreams and treating others kindly.

Pickles is a stray cat who lives in a barrel. He is convinced he will do something great
Show More
someday, but in the meantime, is content to chase smaller cats for fun. When Mrs. Goodkind decides to adopt him, he has a hard time getting used to family life. He decides to go back to chasing cats, which is barking up the wrong tree, literally. The firefighters who rescue him also decide to take him back to the firehouse, and that's where Pickles learns courage and kindness.

The language is very simple, so that kids can read the story to themselves. The pen and ink illustrations aren't particularly masterful, but there is something charming about them. They have a simplicity that makes them engaging. This book is sure to win over animal lovers and future fire fighters alike. For ages 4-7.
Show Less
LibraryThing member cewhiteford
I loved this story as a child and it brought back great memories reading it 15 years later. I love how the author displayed illustrations into the story to help readers easily relate the words to the pictures. For example, Pickles the cat is known for his big paws. The author always refers back to
Show More
his big paws and how they will help him do big things. At one point in the story, his friend Mrs. Goodkind tells the fireman that Pickles would be a great hep because of his big paws. "Pickles put out his paws for Joe to see". An illustration of Pickles' big paw is displayed directly below this line. This lets readers get an understanding of how big his paws really were.

This story is a great story for early readers to read. It is broken up into three short chapters and is written with basic words to help with word recognition. The message of the story is to show that you can start with nothing and end with something big if you work for it. It sends a great message to young learners and is relatable for everyone because the main character is an animal.
Show Less
LibraryThing member jhawn
Pickles is a cat who wishes to do big things. When he is adopted by the people at the firehouse, this little cat decides to be the best fire cat ever.

Original publication date

Page: 0.1007 seconds