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Book Review: Garrett the Firefighter By Joe Garces

The best in children’s literature, selected by Jim Whiting.

Joe Garces

I am a professional firefighter for the City of Oxnard in Southern California. I have been a firefighter since 2002 and previously was an elementary school and high school English teacher. Currently I am the engineer on my crew and drive the fire engine. I have a degree in elementary education from Southern Utah University, with minors in fine art and social sciences. My wonderful wife Taira and I live in Santa Paula with our three boys Tyler, Ryan, and of course, Garrett.

Illustrator Bethaney Abercrombie was a friend of mine in college. I hadn’t seen Bethaney in about 14 years when I tracked her down on a whim. I knew Bethaney was an artist; however I did not know she had already illustrated another children’s book.  Luckily for me, I found her and the project was completed without a hitch. Everyone raves about her watercolors. They truly are tremendous.)

Due to the fact that I have three little boys at home, I am now working on Tyler the Cowpoke, for my second son Tyler who is 5 years old. Bethaney and I hope to have it completed by Christmas of 2009. Ryan, who is 3, will be getting his book in a couple more years. Besides that, I have two other books that are complete and waiting to be illustrated. However, the boys’ books HAVE to come first. Tyler had a hard time with the process and was just a bit jealous.

Garrett the Firefighter

Dog Ear Publishing, LLC, 2008

24 pages


Garrett the Firefighter is a wonderful story about one eventful night at the fire station experienced through the eyes of a little boy, Garrett, and his faithful fire dog, Flip-Over. Follow Garrett and Flip-Over as they respond to fires, save kitties stuck in trees, and become the heroes of their little town. Based on the real life experiences of author and professional firefighter Joe Garces, Garrett the Firefighter colorfully portrays the childhood fantasy of growing up to be a real live firefighter.

Originally a song the author would sing to his firefighter loving oldest son each night before bed, Garrett the Firefighter combines catchy lyrics with the beautiful and whimsical watercolors of illustrator Bethaney Abercrombie, in a delightful adventure children are bound to enjoy.

Many of my reviews have stated that children ask for it every night or know the story by heart. Originally, the story was a song that I made up for my oldest son, Garrett. I then turned the song into a story, located an illustrator, and found a publisher. The entire process took four years from the night I wrote the story until the book was published in October of 2008.

The best place to see the book online is at www.garrettthefirefighter.com. You’ll find a description, an excerpt and ordering information. It can also be seen at www.amazon.com and www.barnesandnoble.com.

Christine Crosby

About the author

Christine is the co-founder and editorial director for GRAND Magazine. She is the grandmother of five and great-grandmom (aka Grandmere) to one. She makes her home in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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