Published by Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers
Summary: Antonio lives in the hotel his mother runs in 1914 Canada. He loves helping the different workers there and exploring the rooms on the second and third floors. One day, when Antonio is almost five, a man on the third floor spots smoke in the woods. Before long, the hotel is surrounded by fire, and all the inhabitants have to wade into the lake. As the fire closes in, wolves, moose, porcupine, bears, and other forest inhabitants join the humans in the lake. People and animals stand together until the fire passes by. The animals return to the forest, and the people go back to the hotel, which miraculously survived the blaze. An author’s note shows a picture of the real Antonio, the author’s grandfather, and tells how the story of the forest fire was passed down in her family. Grades 1-4.
Pros: A good mentor text for memoir writing. Kids will be fascinated by the forest fire and the gathering of all the animals. The beautiful illustrations look like old-time photographs.
Cons: The old-fashioned cover is not particularly eye-catching. Kids might have to be led to this book.