Sparky the Fire Dog book cover image

Sparky® the Fire Dog

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By: Don Hoffman / Illustrated by: Todd Dakins

Meet Sparky.

This adorable Dalmatian puppy is an important member of the team at the fire station. But he's more than just a cute character in a book: Sparky is the official spokesdog for the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and what he has to say can actually save lives. This canine hero rescued a little girl and her family, and now he's helping kids become junior fire inspectors right in their own homes. In colorful, appealing illustrations, Sparky takes a group of young animals through the neighborhood, pointing out hazards, giving basic fire prevention and safety tips, and showing them how to be prepared in case of an emergency. From having a working smoke alarm to being careful with candles and knowing where your exits are, Sparky's advice may be the most important thing children—and their parents—ever learn.

Look Inside the Book:

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Author & Illustrator Bios:

Don Hoffman, author

Don Hoffman is an Emmy Award-winning children's book author and a Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) fellow. His previous books include Billy is a Big Boy and A Very Special Snowflake. Hoffman's other credits include television reporter, and director of communication and public affairs in Milwaukee, WI, for one of the nation's largest urban school districts. He makes his home in New York City, and enjoys presenting exciting, interactive, informative, and whimsical presentations to children in schools, bookstores, and libraries. Visit him at

Read more about Don.

Todd Dakins, illustrator

Todd Dakins is a highly acclaimed and sought-after artist. His sweet, huggable illustrations fill the pages of all of Don Hoffman’s books, from Billy is a Big Boy and Abigail is a Big Girl to the bestseller, A Very Special Snowflake. He has also been a featured illustrator for Milwaukee Magazine. A father of four, Todd and his wife Susan, live with their family in Brookfield, Wisconsin.

Read more about Todd.

Awards & Honors:

Coming Soon!

Editorial Reviews: (blog), September 20, 2011

One of the highlight weeks of a preschool or kindergarten year is National Fire Prevention Week, which is October 9-15 this year. We either visit a fire station or ask firefighting personnel to visit our classrooms. It's an important week as we teach children to think about how they can promote fire safety in their homes. An old ally in helping to publicize the need for fire safety is 60 years old this year and he is the subject of a new book.

Sparky the Fire Dog is a member of Fire Station Number 5 as a result of his heroics in alerting firefighters to a young girl's burning home. During the day, Sparky sits next to the captain in the fire truck. At night he dreams of being a superhero who alerts others to potential dangers in and around their homes. In his dream, he leads a group of Junior Inspectors in visiting homes in the neighborhood. They change batteries in Mrs. Sheep's fire alarms. Mrs. Flamingo is alerted to an unattended candle burning in her house. Ellie the Elephant and her mother share the escape plan they have created. Sparky and his friends go from house to house doing good deeds related to fire safety. A fire alarm awakes Sparky and he races to the fire truck remembering how much he loves being a fire dog.

Sparky the Fire Dog is an engaging vehicle for discussing fire safety with young children. The narrative of the story weaves in tips which can be used for teaching fire safety in the classroom. This book would be an excellent resource for preparing children who are about to visit a fire station or receive a visit from firefighting personnel. The class could create a list of safety tips contained in the book. You could use these tips to create an illustrated booklet where each child illustrates one page that has a safety tip written on it. Another activity would be to draw a T chart and ask students which safety tips are known and which ones are new knowledge.

Other activities such as drawing a home escape plan can be found at A good home activity for children and adults would be to review the inspection checklist.

National Fire Prevention Week is October 9-15 this year and I have just the book to help you celebrate!! Sparky the Fire Dog by Don Hoffman is PERFECT to help teach our little ones some fire safety tips while enjoying a fun book! The illustrations are lively and fun - Todd Dakins mastered the feel for this story - the characters are friendly and the book has such a fun "water spot" technique that captures the fire/water theme - LOVED that!! Sparky the Fire Dog was a collaboration with the National Fire Prevention Association - and you know you can trust the content. I love how at the end of the book they go back over all of the tips they have taught you while you were reading - a great recap - and one kids will remember as each tip starts with the first letter of an animal name. This is a great book to add to your fire safety theme - and we are always looking for new books on this theme!!

I really liked this easy to read, engaging story about Sparky The Fire Dog but give it + + + + + because it's filled with such important information that kiddos will read and remember. It will introduce fire safety to little ones and kiddos up to age eight. Follow Sparky as he travels the neighborhood with his junior inspectors and reminds friends about things like having a three-foot safety zone around the stove, never letting candles or fireplaces burn unattended, changing the batteries in smoke detectors, having a family plan to escape the house if it's on fire and more. Written in such a way that children will learn and remember what Sparky tells them, this book is a must have for every household.


Download the Cover


ISBN: 978-1-936140-62-6

E-book PDF
ISBN: 978-1-60734-092-8
For information about purchasing E-books, click here.

Ages: 3 and up
Page count: 32
8 x 8

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