The first responders assembled at their coastal headquarters are keeping watch from the lighthouse, tidying up the rescue boat, and loading medical supplies into the helicopter when a storm hits and the distress call comes in: “SOS . . . MAYDAY! MAYDAY! MAYDAY!” Then it’s “GO! GO! GO!” as the teams scurry into action. The helicopter takes off into the blackening sky and the boat speeds off into the chop.
“HELP! HELP!” and “BARK! BARK! BARK!” cry the woman and her dog, their sailboat run aground. The helicopter rescuer splashes down and assists the pair into a basket, which lifts them up to safety; as the storm begins to dissipate, the boat picks up the rescuer and tows the sailboat back to port. Disaster is averted, and in a satisfying dénouement, the Rescue 9 team struts its gear and the grateful boaters fly a banner reading “Thank you, Rescue Squad No. 9” at the annual regatta. The limited vocabulary text, with bold font and repeated words, will be a lure for emergent readers. However, the real payoffs are for the kids who like to inspect pictures carefully—catching the newspaper article warning of the big storm to come, watching the darkening sky, wondering who will rescue the rescuer left behind on the rocks, following the personnel as they assume various roles in the rescue. Opaque, looming storm clouds and Pollock-esque splattered, flecked waves in steely grays, deep blues, and white frosted dashes contrast effectively with the more static oranges and reds of the rescue team equipment. Endpapers feature captioned items used throughout the story, and a final note briefs kids on how to “be water smart.” EB