Jeeper the Fire Engine

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Jeeper the Fire Engine
Author: Shigeo Watanabe
Illustrator: Tadayoshi Yamamoto
Specifications: ISBN  978-4834000603
28 pages
26.4 x 19.0 cm / 10.6 x 7.6 in (WxH)
Category: Children & YA
Ages: 4+
Publisher: Fukuinkan Shoten Publishers, Inc.
Tokyo, 1963
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The city fire department has a ladder truck, a pumper truck, and an ambulance. The ladder truck boasts, "No matter how tall the building is, with me you've got it covered." The pumper is just as cocky, saying, "When I start pumping, even the most ferocious blaze doesn't stand a chance." The ambulance pipes in, "If anybody's hurt, I'll get them to the hospital lickety-split." Whenever there's a fire in town, the three vehicles race to the rescue. The full-page spread illustrations of each of them rushing to a fire will put a sparkle in any fire engine lover's eyes.

The fire department also has a much smaller fire truck known as Jeeper that's been converted from an old jeep, but children barely even glance his way. Jeeper is a hard worker, and he distinguishes himself alongside the others in fighting small house fires, but the larger vehicles still look down on him. Then comes an opportunity for Jeeper to prove himself truly indispensable: a cabin in the mountains is ablaze, and the other three vehicles are too big for the narrow mountain road. After singlehandedly putting out the fire, Jeeper gets a write-up in the newspaper, and all of a sudden he's the center of attention.

Playing deftly on the psychology of little children, the work has been a perennial favorite in the category of books about cars, trucks and other forms of transportation for half a century, and has sold over a million copies. (Akira Nogami)