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A Fire Truck Named RED
Written by Randall de Seve
Illustrated by Bob Staake
Farrar Straus Giroux
ISBN: 978-0374300739
ISBN 10: 0374300739
Return To All Books

Behind The Pages With Bob:

"When I first read Randall's story I could immediately relate to it, but I knew that illustrating a toy fire truck that goes from old and rusty to shiny and new was going to be a huge challenge. That's when I came up with a unique solution. I bought a vintage 1930's Wyandotte toy truck on ebay and built it up to resemble a fire truck. I extended the back, gave it a lrotating ladder, added a fire hose coil, bell, light, etc. I then shot photos of the truck in various angles and positions with my iiPhone and then incorporated those photos into my illustrations. Of course this saved me significant illustration time, but I believe using photos of the truck really helped deliver Randall's story -- one that goes back and forth from the 1930's to modern (2016) times. All the dirt, rust, dings and damage you see on the truck, that does not appear on the model I built -- I added that to my images in Photoshop."

-- Bob Staake


Bob dedicated this book "To H2O" partly as a joke, partly because after writing and/or illustrating over 70 books, he simply ran out of friends to dedicate them to.

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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.

Sample images from book (above)

Publisher's Weekly

*Starred Review* It's Rowan's birthday, and he yearns for a shiny new toy fire truck. Instead, he gets Red, a worse-for-wear truck that belonged to his grandfather. "Trust me, Ro," Papa says. "We'll fix up Red better than new." As Papa starts on the Red rehab, he tells Rowan stories of his pretend adventures with the truck. These escapades--rendered in sepia tones and operatic emotions, and "projected" like a silent film--are so vivid that during the final story, Rowan imagines being pulled into the action, riding along with a young Papa to save the town library. Even though "Red would never be new," what kid wouldn't want a truck with as many accomplishments as Red? De Sève (Peanut and Fifi Have a Ball) and Staake (My Pet Book) are an inspired pairing, and the brisk storytelling and funny segues ("That cat was nearly as strong as the elephants," says Papa, effortlessly launching into another tale) give the graphic, posterlike images a deep warmth and narrative energy. Clearly Rowan isn't the only one swept away by Papa's tale.

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