The Fire Cat by Esther Averill is a perfect book for emergent readers. Pickles is a young cat with big paws who wants to do big things. Readers will rejoice when Pickles finds a place where he belongs.
"Things cannot go on like this. Something will happen."
Pickles lives in a barrel, and since there is nothing better to do, he chases other cats. Mrs. Goodkind is his only friend. She feeds him and offers a home for him, but Pickles likes living outside better. She warns Pickles that something bad will happen if he continues to act bad.
"Pickles is a cat who wishes to do big things. And someday he will do them."
"I will take you to our firehouse. Maybe our Chief will let you stay."
Pickles chases a young cat up a tree and will not let the cat go. A storm comes, so Pickles lets the little cat go, but he is too scared to climb down! Mrs. Goodkind calls the firefighters, and Fireman Joe climbs a ladder and rescues Pickles.
Mrs. Goodkind explains to Fireman Joe that Pickles wants to do big things in life. Fireman Joe brings Pickles to the fire station, and the Chief says he will let pickles stay, if he learns how to be a good firehouse cat.
Pickles learns the ropes very quickly. He learns how to slide down the fire pole, how to jump onto the engine and sit straight while the engine drives, how to help hold the firehose, and much more.
"The time has come for you to know that you are now our Fire Cat."
The Chief calls Pickles into his office. He tells Pickles he has seen all the hard work he has done. The Chief makes Pickles an official Fire Cat and gives him a little fire hat.
Pickles learns to be friendly with other cats. He goes on a call to help a cat stuck in a tree. It is the same tree he was rescued from! Pickles, bravely climbs up the ladder and rescues the cat. He is very proud of himself and happy.