ABOUT THE BOOK
A young boy has his heart set on a brand-new toy fire truck, so he is disappointed when he gets his grandfather's rusty old fire truck, Red, instead. But working together, the boy and his grandfather patch Red right up while Grandpa tells his grandson all about the adventures he had with Red when he was a boy.
Mathilda and the Orange Balloon. Her newest book, A Fire Truck Named Red, illustrated by Bob Staake, is on sale now. She lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her husband, two daughters and a very wicked dog named Henry Biscuit. Learn more about her at randalldeseve.com.
De Seve has written a delightful book about the joys of imaginary play as well as the joy of stories shared between generations. Rowan wants a new, fancy fire truck for his birthday, one with a siren that blares, a really tall ladder, and a hose that really shoots water. What he gets: his grandfather's old, battered toy. Naturally he is disappointed. But as his grandfather works at repairing the old toy, he tells Rowan of the adventures he had with Red. At first, Rowan isn't interested in the stories, but slowly he gets drawn in until he imagines himself experiencing the adventures with his grandfather. Not only a fun story about firefighting, a very popular topic with young children, but the sweet underlying relationship that develops between the boy and his grandfather as they bond over childhood imaginings shines through loud and clear. It reminded me of many of my own childhood adventures as well as the ones I see through the eyes of my nephews. Staake's simple illustrations work perfectly to complement the story, as does what is clearly a real old-fashioned toy fire truck. Some things are truly universal and this story reminds me of those things.
INTERVIEW with Randall De Seve
*How did you become picture book author?
It’s always good to have an audience in mind (or on hand) when you’re writing. I was a first grade teacher here in Brooklyn for many years, so I wrote for my students. Then, when I took a break from teaching to be with my own young children, I began writing for them. I published my first book when my older daughter was seven. She’s 15 now, and her sister is 10—and I think I’d better get back into the classroom before I forget what makes 6-year-olds giggle!
*What do you enjoy about writing for children?
For me, it’s all about what happens once the book is published. Reading it to a group of children, watching their little bodies settle into the story, into the imaginary world you’ve created—that’s the big payoff. Imagining that moment is what draws me to my desk and keeps me there when the writing is a struggle.
*What's your writing process like?
There’s a kind of bubbling up that happens with a new story. It starts as a fizz in my head or my heart and continues to grow until I can’t contain it. That’s when I sit down and begin. Any earlier, before there’s some urgency, and I tend to overwork the idea--and it goes flat.
*What's something few people know about you?
I once swam with an octopus.
*What's your favorite dessert?
Tart key lime pie.
1 print copy of A Fire Truck Named Red
US onlya Rafflecopter giveaway