ON THE BOOK SHELF
By John M. Malecky September, 2008
Sparkles the Fire Safety Dog
By FF Dayna Hilton
Firehouse Dog Publishing, LLC
106 East Poplar Street, Suite 100
Clarksville, AR 72830-4213
Price: $4.99 + S & H
This book came out in 2008 and yes it is quite inexpensive. It measures 81/4 by 10 1/4 inches and is 28 pages. As the title may tip you off, it is a book for teaching children fire safety. The author joined the fire service in the year, 2000. She is a member of the Johnson County RFD #1 in Arkansas, as a Public Fire and Life Safety Educator in Clarksville. She, her husband and her son adopted two Dalmatians, named Sparkles and Spanner. If you’ve ever had a dog, you know how much joy they can bring to your life. The same goes for these dogs but in addition, they bring joy and interest to children’s lives in teaching them a fun way to learn fire safety. This book may be used as a guide to educators, parents, other family members and as a colorful means of learning to the children themselves. It has the latest fire safety messaging based on Fire Protection Publication’s comprehensive Fire Safety for Young children: an early childhood Education Curriculum. The text is preceded by a note to the reader to explain words or phrases to the children including teaching the children to crawl under smoke, explaining important points about a family escape plan, where a meeting place should be, and practicing a home fire drill.
Another important point covered is the recognition of a smoke alarm, what its purpose is, what it sounds like when activated and what to do when you hear it go off. The dogs play an active role and are well trained for their work which makes it all the more interesting for the children.
The book helps bring lifesaving education to children while setting them at ease, providing some fun and keeping their attention all at the same time. Firefighters, teachers and parents know that although children basically like firefighters and fire trucks, sometimes they can be overwhelmed by the size of apparatus and equipment thus becoming afraid. Using the book can help conquer fear when used as a guide. One page has Sparkle’s fire safety tips which were taken from the publication mentioned earlier. Sparkles also has links to other websites which address fire safety. One is for the Dalmatian Assistance League of Tulsa which is where the dogs were adopted from. Many national fire safety experts as well as citizens have given meaningful reviews about the book such as the Home Safety Council, IFSTA and PBS KIDS Sprout to name a few. A media kit is available by logging onto the website listed at the beginning of this review.
The author is available for interviews on writing and fire safety. She may be contacted also at the “info” website address above or at 479-754-8652.
I salute her for her pursuit in serving lives both as a firefighter and an educator. With a book and educational program such as this, we can expand on the phrase, “No Child Left Behind!”