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The Fire Cat

4.13  ·  Rating Details ·  6,113 Ratings  ·  123 Reviews
Pickles is a young cat with big paws who wishes to do big things with them! When he's adopted by the local firehouse, Pickles works hard to be a good fire cat. He learns to jump on a fire truck. He learns to help put out a fire, and he even helps out in a rescue!

Beginning readers will cheer as Pickles gets his wish and finds something big to do with his paws. With sweet il
Paperback, 64 pages
Published September 7th 1983 by HarperCollins (first published 1960)
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Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice SendakThe Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric CarleThe Giving Tree by Shel SilversteinGreen Eggs and Ham by Dr. SeussGoodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
Best Children's Books
392nd out of 3,704 books — 5,286 voters
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Picture Books about Cats
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Sep 13, 2007 Laura rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children
This book made me cry as I was reading it in the bookstore. Then I showed it to my therapist and it made him cry. (In all fairness, he's pretty easy. But still.) It's about a cat who turns his life around by doing good works. I'm serious. Listen, just read it, ok?
Apr 28, 2009 Kathryn rated it it was amazing
I absolutely love this story! From the first few words--so simple, yet placed together in such a tender and descriptive way--I was a goner! Nevermind that the illustrations are also so simple, yet so full of character--I want to adopt our spunky spotted cat with the big paws and even bigger dreams. All the characters are great, Mrs. Goodkind and the firemen and The Chief. What a lovely story about the joys of finding one's purpose in the world--and how a lack of fulfillment can make one grumpy a ...more
Jamie Winslow
Sep 17, 2010 Jamie Winslow rated it liked it
Shelves: modern-fantasy
The Fire Cat is a story about a cat named Pickles that lived in a barrel in a large yard next to a big house. In the house lived a lady named Mrs. Goodkind who had several cats of her own. Pickles was a cat with big paws who wanted to do big things but the only thing he knew how to do was chase other cats that came into his yard. Mrs. Goodking told Pickles that he should not chase those cats and that he needed a good home and she brought him into her home. Although it was nice Pickles wanted to ...more
Kristine Hansen
Feb 27, 2016 Kristine Hansen rated it it was amazing
We'll call this book comfort food, along with every other book by Esther Averill, shall we? As I am curled up in bed with a cold, it makes sense to look for things that make me feel good, at least in the emotional sense, since I can't stop my nose from running (oh but I wish I could!)

Pickles is a cat who is neither good nor bad, but a bit of each. I first meet him, back when I first learned how to read somewhere about the age of three or four. I loved this book and I'm surprised I didn't wear ou
Jul 05, 2014 Becky rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014reviews
I enjoyed revisiting The Fire Cat by Esther Averill. I read this one many times as a child. But I had no idea it was part of a larger series of books, the Cat Club series by Esther Averill. The Fire Cat does not star Jenny Linsky. It stars Pickles. Pickles has been a delightful character in almost all of the other books in the series. He is probably one of Jenny's best best friends. In the Fire Cat, readers learn more about Pickles. Was he always a fire cat? Of course not! There was a time he wa ...more
Sharn Dhah
Dec 26, 2015 Sharn Dhah rated it it was amazing
A touching story with a great message for kids to learn early on, Pickles is a cat who begins the story homeless and a bully to other cats. After being taken in and cared for by Mrs. Goodkind, Pickles tries to behave, but soon reverts to his old ways. Mrs. Goodkind, ever forgiving and supportive, tells Pickles that he is not good and not bad, but a mixture of both (like everyone in the world). Pickles is very aware of his behavior, and strives to become something greater than himself. When he is ...more
Oct 01, 2009 Meredith rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Is there a way to give a book more than 5 stars? Because I love this book more than 5 stars worth. I read it constantly as a child, and it's still fun today. Oh, Pickles. What a good cat you are!
Julia Brumfield
Jun 30, 2016 Julia Brumfield rated it really liked it
It is never too late to cheer for the underdog or should I say cat. In this particular book we find out that sometimes not having a purpose can be as damaging as having to many things going on but in the end we help to make the choices to change for the better while setting our best paw or foot forward.

What makes this interesting is that the book is truly for beginning readers but it is like a chapter book for it is broken-up into three different stories. For the beginning reader or even for o
May 06, 2014 Adrienne rated it liked it

A Review

This book was originally published in 1960, so comparing its illustrations and other details to modern books seems a bit unfair. The illustrations are not great, but the book is still around in libraries and schools and has been re-published several times. In short, even though it looks a little dated, the story still stands.

Generally speaking, I dislike books with anthropomorphism, but in this case, I think the author uses the technique without
What a sweet, funny book. Logan read this aloud to me last night and we laughed and laughed at Pickles' expressions and especially about Pickles thrusting his paw out for the fireman to see. Also, my son was thrilled to notice Jenny Linsky in the fire truck. We both love Jenny and her cameo appearance was a bonus. A classic story about finding a purpose, pursuing your dreams, kindling your compassion, and finding a place where you feel you belong.
Donna Crane
Many level one readers are awkward for read-alouds but not The Fire Cat! With its engaging text superbly supported by simple but effective illustrations this title works for both early readers and younger children too. Why would a yellow and black spotted cat make trouble and chase other cats? Because he hasn't yet found his life's work! Pickles is a stray who needs to have his prodigious gifts channeled into meaningful activity. Mrs. Goodkind recognizes his potential and arranges for him to be ...more
Melissa Foley
Sep 22, 2012 Melissa Foley rated it really liked it
"The Fire Cat," is geared toward readers ages 3-8. It is a sweet story about a cat that does not want to be a house cat. Instead, Pickles wants to work in a fire station and help the fireman save people and other cats. Pickles practices hard to become a fire cat and proves he is worth keeping at the fire station. He becomes one of the fire crew.

Children will be drawn to this story because it involves firemen, a cat, and a warm-hearted story about a cat who use to do bad things, and then later,
Elijah Libert
Jun 26, 2014 Elijah Libert rated it really liked it
Pickles learned his lesson about chasing cats when he worked at the firehouse. He wanted to do big things and he did do big things.
Nov 03, 2012 Lori rated it really liked it
Shelves: beginner-books
Pickles was living in a barrel and he was the bully of the street. One day it begins to rain and his neighbor, Mrs. Goodkind, helps Pickles and has him come and live with her. Well Pickles is not a bad cat, nor is he a good cat. Finally Pickles ends up living with the fireman and learns that good cats succeed and can be given important jobs.

This is good beginner book for children who can read simple sentences and are ready for chapters. The chapters are short and the story continues to keep the
Heather B.
It is a cute story about a homeless cat, Pickles, wanting to do big things in his life with his big paws. One day after chasing a little cat up a big tree he could not get down and fire fighters had to be called. The fire fighter got him out of the tree and he asked the fire chief if Pickles could stay at the firehouse. Pickles did get the opportunity to live at the firehouse and become a firehouse cat. After much practice and hard work Pickles became a good cat fire fighter. Recommend for early ...more
Austen to Zafón
Nov 24, 2014 Austen to Zafón rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classic, own-pb, kid-lit
What a sweet, funny book. My son just read this aloud to me last night and we laughed and laughed at Pickles' expressions and especially about Pickles thrusting his paw out for the fireman to see. Also, my son was thrilled to notice Jenny Linsky in the fire truck. We both love Jenny and her cameo appearance was a bonus. A classic story about finding a purpose, pursuing your dreams, kindling your compassion, and finding a place where you feel you belong.
Jun 09, 2012 William rated it really liked it
I read the Swedish version of this book, "Brand katten". Amazingly I understood a lot of it.

A cute story about an orphan cat who is eventually adopted by a firestation after being rescued from being stuck in a tree. The kitty learns how to be a good fire-cat, including sliding down the firepole and riding in the firetruck. Eventually he is called on to rescue another kitty in the very same tree he was stuck in.
Jun 06, 2008 Sean rated it it was amazing
Pickles is a bad cat, who wants to be a good cat. So he does what totally makes sense and that is tags along with the men from the firehouse! Oh and he is yellow with black spots, so quite the unique cat! And another of the books from my childhood, so if you have kids...or just like feline fire fighters check this book out, but you don't have to take my word for it! -cue reading rainbow da-da-DA music-
Mar 22, 2012 GlobeRunner rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Very young, aspiring firefighters...and other kids.
I read about "The Fire Cat" here on GoodReads and it felt like the perfect book for my little nephew. I had to read it in Swedish, as the library didn't have the original version. It was just as good as I thought it would be, and now I will order it in English and translate it into Italian for my nephew myself! (He is a 4-year-old aspiring a firefighter).
Brian Wilson
Sep 09, 2009 Brian Wilson rated it it was amazing
This one of the first books I ever read. It is a testament to the strength of feline endurance and shows that no matter what goes wrong in your life, you can always turn it around and triumph. And the cat is named Pickles. How can you not like a book about a fire cat named Pickles? Some day I want to be just like Pickles.
Sep 14, 2007 Nicole rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone
Shelves: booksihaveread
I loved Pickles the fire cat. My mom used to read this book nightly. It brings back such great memories reading with my mom and it was one of my first books I learned to read. Also...#1 firefighters are hot! #2 I wanted to be a veteranarian back then, but then I found out about animal blood, guts and vomit... no thank you.
Oct 09, 2012 Jessica rated it it was amazing
This is one of my favorite children's books that I read over and over again as a beginner. Pickles is an adventurous cat who wants to be a fire cat at the fire station. With hard work, Pickles accomplishes his dreams and does just that. This book is a simple chapter book for young readers.
Jul 16, 2014 Kaethe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cats
It's got a spotted cat instead of a dalmatian for the fire department mascot. And the cat wears a fire hat. It's brilliant. Go and read all the Esther Averill forthwith.
Bailey Jane
Nov 27, 2008 Bailey Jane rated it really liked it
Recommended to Bailey Jane by: my parents
Another one I remember reading time and time again when I was a child. It's a sweet story about the determination of a cat adopted by a firehouse.
August Maclauchlan
My 4 year old loved this book. At the end of the book we looked at each other with tears in our eyes!:) awesome book!
Nov 11, 2008 Charlie rated it really liked it
Grandma read this book to me for the first time. I liked Pickles when he was practicing to be a fireman.
Emma Mcpherson
Oct 18, 2009 Emma Mcpherson rated it it was amazing
I like this book because there is a cat who becomes a fireman. My mom liked it when she was a kid too.
Jan 17, 2010 Sharon rated it really liked it
One of my favorites to read with my mom as a kid, its now a favorite of Erin's. Who wouldn't love Pickles?
Dec 10, 2010 Whitaker rated it really liked it
A really great book shows us how everything is great and worth to die for
May 06, 2007 TheBookStacks rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Early Readers
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Esther Averill (1902-1992) began her career as a storyteller drawing cartoons for her local newspaper. After graduating from Vassar College in 1923, she moved first to New York City and then to Paris, where she founded her own publishing company. The Domino Press introduced American readers to artists from all over the world, including Feodor Rojankovsky, who later won a Caldecott Award. In 1941, ...more
More about Esther Averill...

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“One day Mrs. Goodkind said,
'Pickles, you are not a bad cat.
You are not a good cat.
You are good and bad.
And bad and good.
You are a mixed-up cat.
What you need is a good home.
Then you will be good.' ”
More quotes…