"It's firefighters to the rescue in this action-packed homage to both the heroes and their truck. Under a calm, blue sky, firefighters wash Engine No. 9. But then, an alarm! Crew members whoosh down the pole and dash for their gear. Horns blast, and sirens wail as cleverly designed onomatopoeic text creates an urgent, dynamic energy. The actual meaning of the text, composed almost entirely of repeated sounds ('BRRRRRIIING!'; 'WEOOO!') and verbs ('HURRY!'; 'CLIMB!')," is almost ancillary to its prominence as a design element, the large, blocky, sans serif words placed within illustrations for maximum effect. The firefighters follow the billowing black cloud to the blaze. With ladders, hoses, tools, and teamwork, they save a baby and extinguish the fire. The digital illustrations, with their strong color blocking and left-to-right drive, also play with format, as several vertical spreads thoughtfully emphasize the heights of the ladder and fire pole. A vivid, primary palette bursts from the page, as the Jolly Rancher-red engine sizzles with heat. Bold and energetic, and complete with fire-safety tips and fire-gear endpapers, this is one surefire win for the firefighter fan. (Picture book. 3-6)"
–Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
"Firefighter-wannabes ride along as Engine No. 9 races across town to put out a fire. At the firehouse, a loudspeaker blares, 'ALERT! ALERT! FIRE! FIRE! FIRE!' The crew springs into action, sliding down the pole, pulling on gear, and speeding through traffic to the fire at Luigi’s Italian restaurant. The simple emphatic text includes many forceful sound words ('WHOOSH' 'WEOOO! WEOOO!' 'HONK!'); text placement, color, and size are integral parts of the dynamic illustrations. As the firefighters scramble to respond to the insistent alarm, for example, seven BRRRRRIIINGs are incorporated into the double-page spread, contributing to the portrayal of controlled urgency at the station. When Engine No. 9 arrives at Luigi’s, ladders go up, windows are smashed, water douses the fire. The book’s horizontal orientation adds to the drama, with strong lines visually propelling readers forward to the next page. Three spreads require viewers to hold the book vertically for the full effect, adding even more dynamism to the scene. The real crisis is revealed only after it’s safely over: there was a baby trapped inside the building. A concluding celebratory spread balances this near-tragedy: Luigi and family (including smiling baby) deliver a thank-you meal to the firehouse from Luigi’s new food truck. A helpful list of tips for 'What to Do During a Home Fire' will reassure any anxious listeners."
–Horn Book (Starred Review)
"It’s a calm day at the fire station until the alarm sounds, the Dalmatian barks, and fire fighters slide down the pole. Fire Engine No. 9 speeds through the streets, siren blaring and horn honking. At the burning building, one firefighter climbs in through a window and rescues a baby. Soon, the fire is out and the family is grateful. From the quiet opening to the dramatic rush to reach the scene and douse the fire, the digital artwork shapes the main narrative. With great flair, Austin uses color, texture, and even form to amplify the drama, as when the formerly upright fire engine leans forward, straining to reach the fire in time. The brief text mainly carries the sounds such as the dog’s 'BARK! BARK! BARK!' and staccato words such as instructions to the baby-toting rescuer's 'CRAWL! CRAWL!' Young children will enjoy chiming in on the many sound effects and other repeated words, while the well-constructed, colorful illustrations offer pleasures of their own. An appended page offers kids nine bits of practical advice on what to do when a home on fire. On the handsome endpapers, the fire fighters’ tools show up distinctly against the crimson backgrounds. Highly recommended for young fire engine fans."
—Carolyn Phelan, Booklist (Starred Review)