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Choose Your Own Adventure - Dragonlarks
Choose Your Own Adventure for Younger Readers — no. 28
Montgomery, R. A.
Bolle, Frank (Original edition; Book club edition; Original edition, later printing)
July, 1985 (Original edition)
October 1, 2015 (Dragonlarks reissue)
0553153366 / 9780553153361
0553154621 / 9780553154627 (Original edition, later printing)
0553165682 / 9780553165685 (Book club edition)
1937133494 / 9781937133498 (Dragonlarks reissue)
52 pages (Book club edition, Original edition, later printing, Original edition)
|Number of Endings:||
|User Summary:||Your house catches on fire while you're home alone and you have to do something about it.|
This book tries so hard to avoid being too scary that it totally fails to have anything interesting happen in it.
Fire! is very uninteresting, mainly due to the fact that it seems far too short, even shorter than the rest of the series.
Fire! comes three books prior to Lost Dog! in the Bantam Skylark Choose Your Own Adventure series, and the two R. A. Montgomery books share similarities. Both center on a realistic crisis you must address, scared as you are by it. In this case, you become aware of the threat when you wake up one morning to find dark smoke billowing up from under the kitchen door. The stove is engulfed in flames, and the rest of the house will soon be in danger. Your mother isn't home; she said she would be in town all morning. You were always told to immediately evacuate the house in case of fire, so you grab your tiger-striped cat, Nipper, and head out. Calling emergency services is a top priority, but the house phone is inaccessible. You live a distance from your closest neighbor--a recluse you've never seen--and a mile and a half from town. What should you do?
It's a long bike ride to town, but someone has to go for help. You could scrap the idea and fight the flames yourself with a garden hose, but you're not trained to handle such an emergency. Your best hope if you try to extinguish the burn yourself is that a passing car calls the firehouse. If you make it to town on your bike, alerting a firefighter won't be easy. You find the volunteer firehouse unattended, and every second lost means more damage to your home. Should you hunt for a fire alarm, or search downtown for someone who can help? The sooner you locate a firefighter, the better. You may end up the hero of this whole scary day.
Getting help from your reclusive neighbor instead of biking to town means visiting Mrs. Ryerson. Rumors claim she's a witch, but you can't let your home burn down because of rumors. Mustering your courage, you race across open fields to her shadowy mansion and cry out for help. When her creaky voice responds from the darkness inside, you can run away and find someone else to contact the firehouse, but walking toward the voice is the braver option. Perhaps Mrs. Ryerson is just a shy elderly woman who wishes neighbors would give her a chance, and helping you report the fire could be the start of a rewarding friendship for you both. Or...perhaps not. One way or the other, you're about to find out.
Mrs. Ryerson and Alice the bakery owner/fire chief are fun characters, though not atypical for Choose Your Own Adventure. On the movie theater marquee on page twenty-seven, "Star Wars III" is playing. Return of the Jedi, which would have been considered "Star Wars III" at the time, came out in 1983, just two years before this book. The internal consistency of Fire! comes and goes, especially where Mrs. Ryerson is concerned, and the firefighters aren't always the brightest lot, but this is a decent story with more variety than one might expect. In some narrative branches, you hardly deal with the fire at all. Fire! is fun and quick, and I'll definitely reread it.
|Waluigi Freak 99's Thoughts:||
I agree with Demian and Gartax. The book tries too hard not to frighten younger readers, making it a very boring read. The characters are weak, and it's way too short, but, all things considered, this is actually the only thing that Fire! has going for it.
|Special Thanks:||Thanks to Ken G. for the book club edition scans.|
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Known EditionsBook club edition
Original edition, later printing