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Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey [With Hardcover Book]
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Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey [With Hardcover Book]

4.28 of 5 stars 4.28  ·  rating details  ·  397 ratings  ·  95 reviews
With sensitivity and compassion, Maira Kalman frames the tragic events of September 11 through the history and the role of the John J. Harvey, a retired New York City fireboat. Originally launched in 1931, the Harvey was one of the most powerful fireboats of its time. Years later, a group of friends restored the retired boat and after the September 11 attacks, the fire dep ...more
Audio CD, 0 pages
Published April 1st 2004 by Live Oak Media (NY) (first published August 5th 2002)
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We have a lot of transportation books around our house, and I thought this was just one more cute little book about a plucky little boat, kind of like Little Toot. It's not. It's prettily drawn and gives the history of fire boats in New York, and of the John J. Harvey in particular, which was restored to its original glory by a group of people who just took pleasure in owning it. I was reading along to the boys, and then came to a black page with simple white text describing September 2001: "som ...more
Leon loves Kalman's books about Pete, the dog who eats everything, so I tried this one too. It's a lovely tale, but I really wish that authors or publishers would think about putting some kind of warning on Picture books - which are aimed at little kids - when that book contains massive death (9/11 in this case), which can be hard to explain to those little kids. Yes, I could have read it myself before reading it to Leon, but it's a PICTURE BOOK for goodness sake. I shouldn't have to check it fo ...more
David Schaafsma
Maira Kalman tribute to a fireboat, first in use in NYC in 1931, retired in 1995, bought by a bunch of people who just thought it would due fun to own this boat, and fixed up, unretired, and was used in 9/11. Kalman's art is always so fun and colorful and splashy and effervescent, and this one has a touch of every day heroics and nostalgia in it.
Fireboat is a very cute book of the true story of how the John J. Harvey fireboat was the best fireboat of them all until fireboats were no longer needed. The boat was a retired but a group of friends took care of the boat. In September of 2001, they were called to see if the boat could still preform and the boat is able to fight the flames and is a hero once again.

This story is based off a true story, which I think makes a very valid learning book to teach young children of September 11. The w
Chloey Jones
An old rusted up boat is just about at the end of it's life when it gets pulled out of water when it is miraculously is given a second chance. Some friends saw the fireboat, John J. Harvey, and decided to bring it back to life. As the times of the city, New York, were changing no one had a need for old fireboats anymore so the friends decided to make it their portable space. One day in September, that is now iconic, began as any other for the group of friends and their boat until tragedy struck ...more
Kendal Dastrup
In Fireboat by Maira Kalman we learn about a retired Fireboat that some friends purchased together just for the heck of it. They friends pooled money together and restored the old boat to good as new condition. During the 9/11 attack in New York City the friends called the fire department and volunteered to assist. The fire department told them they were not needed because the boat was so old, but later on in the day they were called to help. They joined forces with other boats on the water to c ...more
Abby Spiel
The Harvey had been around for many generations. It began as a fire boat in 1931, used to put out fires all along the New York City coast. The Harvey carried firefighters who helped fight the fires and would sometimes even shoot water off the boat just for fun or celebration. In 1995 The Harvey became useless because of fire trucks, but people still saw the beauty in the boat so they fixed it up. It just so happens that the Harvey had it's time to shine again when a tragedy hit the Land of the F ...more
Priscila Lima
Fireboat tells the adventures of John J. Harvey, a large and shiny fireboat that takes the readers through major events that happened in new York City starting in 1931. The writer started with the year 1931 because that was when the Empire State building was built. John J. Harvey did many wonderful things until 1995. As the author states i the book, “new York was changing” and did not need fireboats anymore. Piers were closing so there was no place for fireboats. One night a couple of friends st ...more
Kiana Gerard
Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of John J. Harvey is about the terrible day of 9/11. Maira Kalman uses her words to describe a story so fitting for an older child to understand. For being such a horrific event, Maira Kalman touches many hearts with her view of the attack on 9/11. From the pictures to the short texts, Kalman describes how to put a horrible event into a picture book for kids. Despite Kalman's art of putting sad events with illustrations, I don't think her message really connects w ...more
Mrs Bond
Near epic tale of the fireboat Harvey from its 'birth' in 1931 to its rebirth in 2001. Factual treatment of the events of 9/11 and the Harvey's part in helping out that day. Text and illustrations work well together. What really caught my eye was the 2 page illustration showing a cloudless blue sky with 2 black airplanes headed toward 2 white buildings. The text almost seems to be pushed as far to edge as possible as if to say, 'what is about to happen is too big for words.'
Hannah Wolf
In this story Harvey the Fireboat ended up being a heroic boat that fought the fires of 9/11. He was the fastest and shiniest fireboat on the water. People loved to be on the fireboat and they even had a dog named Smokey that liked to come along for rides. In the beginning Harvey was the most important boat but in 1995 he became useless. A few years later a group of people repaired the boat and repainted her a nice new coat. Good thing they repaired him because he helped fight the 9/11 fires for ...more
Oct 13, 2011 Tina rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone!
Beautiful and brilliant. Kalman takes an treasured artifact, (the John J. Harvey which I have been on in a harbor cruise by the way) and a moving event (9-11 attacks) and tells their story perfectly, flawlessly and with stunning graphics to boot. This isn't the clincher though. The clincher is that her telling appropriate for all ages. As a native New Yorker, I highly recommended it.
Alyson (Kid Lit Frenzy)
Beautiful story...I cried at the end. Can't wait to share this with my teachers.
Last review of 2014 has to be this year's best discovery - Maira Kalman. This historical tale - much of the account is rooted in 1931 - gets Kalman's singular treatment that helps us enter the life of this boat. Although only on the inside flap is there an indication that this is not just a boat book but a 9/11 book, the book is all the more valuable for that. I would love to see some research on children's responses to Kalman's unique storytelling and depicting style, but regardless, I'm a fan. ...more
Fireboat gave perhaps one of the best presentations of the events of 9/11 that I've yet seen in a children's book. It was presented carefully, factually, and with enough information to inform kids about the events and the emotions surrounding it, without making them feel frightened or unsafe. I was impressed at the way in which it opened the door for parents or teachers to discuss this event with kids.

Unfortunately, the kids were not so impressed. Sort of were not. My niece didn't engage with th
Shanna Gonzalez
This outstanding picture book tells the true story of the John J. Harvey, the retired fireboat, rehabilitated by hobbyists, which was called back into service during the terrible crisis of September 11, 2001. The careful, well-written text gives the reader a sense of the boat's own history as a traditional fireboat and then a hobbyist's project. Then she sensitively introduces September 11's events, explaining how the Harvey's civilian crew volunteered for service when New York's damaged water l ...more
Ian Overway
Picture Book 1)
This is a superb nonfiction picture book of how a New York City Fire boat that at one time was about to be sold for scrap was turned in a hero!
The story begins by introducing the amazing things happening in NYC in 1931: The Empire State Build was being built, Babe Ruth was slugging home runs, Snickers hit stores and more. The John J. Harvey was also lunched along with a fleet of 12 other Fire Boats. The fleet fought fires along the numerous city piers and docks. However by the mi
Becca Buckman
FireBoat: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey by Maria Kalman tells a great story about New York through the eyes of a fireboat. John J. Harvey was an amazing fireboat in New York City, helping to put out many fires along the “bustling piers” and on the “great ocean liner NORMANDIE” (p. 13 & p. 15). Soon enough, fireboats were no longer needed along the waters of New York, until the morning of September 11, 2001. Read this wonderful story to see how the old, repaired John J. Harvey h ...more
Jordan Caton
This is my informational book. I really enjoyed it. It is about the 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers from the focus of a fire boat. It starts the book out by the year this boat was released. It told the many uses of the boat and different fires it has conquered. After many years the boat no longer was being used and it became old and rusty. Some friends fixed up the boat and used it for fun. Whenever 9/11 happened, the friends of the boat knew just what to do. They helped put out the fire with the ...more
Amanda Toombs
Genre: Junior book—Informational
Summary: This book tells a story about a little red fireboat. As people began to think this boat was worthless and not needed, it ended up saving many people during the tragic even that happened -on 9/11.


a. I personally believe the greatest strength of this book is the story. The fact that a special type of boat was known to not be useful but it becomes very useful at a very, very important time in history.

b. This book does an amazing job at showing re
1. Informational Junior book
2. This informational book tells the story of a great boat named John J Harvey (or the Harvey). The Harvey was build in the early 1900's as a fireboat during a time when the harbors of New York City were busy. The ship later was retired, but was bought in the 1990's and remodeled to be a fully-functioning boat. The boat was thought to be unneeded, but when September 11, 2001 occurred, the Harvey was very helpful by rescuing many people from flames.
3. The best part ab
Kyla C.
HOT-CHA!!! In its prime the John J. Harvey fought fires up and down the Hudson River. Soon the city of New York hand no use for fireboats and planned to sell the John J. Harvey for scrap. But a group of friends decided to buy the John J. Harvey; they repaired the massive boat back to its original glory and were very happy. Until one fateful September day in 2001 when two planes crashed into the Twin Towers. The people of New York banned together even the John J. Harvey. The city of New York need ...more
"Fireboat" by Maira Kalman is a brightly illustrated book about a fireboat named the John J. Harvey. In 1931, the John J. Harvey was launched and was lauded as the biggest and best of New York City's fireboats. It served for nearly 60 years helping to fight fires on the city's piers. After having been docked for five years, a group of friends heard about the boat and decided to buy it and repair it just for fun. When September 11 happened, the John J. Harvey was put back into action. Because the ...more
Jordan Sanchez
This book is about fireboat that is no longer used. Some people decide to fix it up after it has been out of use for years and when september 11th happened it is used to help during the day. Overall I feel this book was not the best children's book. It does tackle a very serious topic in september 11th and makes the boat out to be a hero, but I do not see how a child would find any appeal in this book. It has fairly bland illustrations which I feel would not capture a child's attention much.
Karen Bessin
Both the visuals and the story are powerful! We learn how a fireboat from 1931 serves the city of New York, is retired and almost sold for scrap, restored by a group of loving supporters, and has its own heroic role to play on 9/11. The interplay between words and pictures on each page enhances the story greatly, making this a fabulous mentor text for getting students to think about the consequences of the layout of their words on the story itself.
We read this book to my fifth grade class today as part of our remembrance of Sept. 11, 2001. Our lesson focused not so much on the terrorism that occurred that day, but heroes that stepped up and did so much to help people on that awful day. We had watched a video about this same fireboat and then we shared the story, so the children had background first. They were engaged and the illustrations were great.
Rose Ann
Borrowed from the library....we LOVE it! Definetely adding to our own bookshelf!

This is the inspiring true story of the John J. Harvey-a retired New York City fireboat reinstated on September 11, 2001. Originally launched in 1931, the Harvey was the most powerful fireboat of her time. After the September 11 attacks, with fire hydrants at Ground Zero inoperable and the Hudson River's water supply critical to fighting the blaze, the fire department called on the Harvey for help. There were adjustm
The story of a restored 1930’s fireboat that helped out during the 9/11 attacks as well as providing a bit of history of the fireboats and major fires in New York harbor during the 20th century. Very simple book and story without too much information, but it shows the changes to New York City and will hold students attention.
Phil Deschler
Jun 30, 2015 Phil Deschler rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Phil by: Self
A great heartrendering story. A boat from the thirities helps in the face of danger on 9/11. A piece of history I did not know. A story all people need to know. The people who saved the old boat became hero's. A story that brings tears.
This book certainly made me cry. We borrowed it from our local library. Will consider purchasing it at some point because it is wonderful and moving, yet informative. A helpful introduction to the events of 9/11/2001 for children.
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Maira Kalman was born in Tel Aviv and moved to New York with her family at the age of four. She has worked as a designer, author, illustrator and artist for more than thirty years without formal training. Her work is a narrative journal of her life and all its absurdities. She has written and illustrated twelve children's books including Ooh-la-la- Max in Love, What Pete Ate, and Swami on Rye . Sh ...more
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