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New York's Bravest [Hardcover]

By Mary Pope Osborne (Author), Steve Johnson (Illustrator) & Louis Francher (Illustrator)
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Item description for New York's Bravest by Mary Pope Osborne, Steve Johnson & Louis Francher...

Tells of the heroic deeds of the legendary New York firefighter, Mose Humphreys.

Publishers Description
In the 1840s, there was a real vounteer firefighter named Mose Humphreys whose bravery was reknown throughout New York City. Plays about him began being performed on Broadway in 1848 and over the years his strength and heroics took on larger-than-life proportions, much like those of Paul Bunyan. Mary Pope Osborne has honed down the legends about him to a brief, dramatic, sometimes comical, but ultimately moving text of picture book length. Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher's stunning paintings capture this 8-foot-tall superhero rushing into burning buildings, saving babies and bankers, and wolfing down the feasts bestowed upon him by the grateful citizens of old New York-until the one big hotel fire after which he was never seen again. The author has included a historical note about the origins of this tall tale, and the book is dedicated to the 343 New York City firefighters who gave their lives to save others on September 11, 2001.
Mary Pope Osborne included a longer, different version of this legend in her distinguished collection "American Tall Tales."

Awards and Recognitions
New York's Bravest by Mary Pope Osborne, Steve Johnson & Louis Francher has received the following awards and recognitions -
  • Georgia Children's Book Award - 2005 Nominee - Picture Storybook category
  • Parents Choice Award (Fall) (1998-2007) - 2002 Winner - Approved category

Citations And Professional Reviews
New York's Bravest by Mary Pope Osborne, Steve Johnson & Louis Francher has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Wilson Children's Catalog - 01/01/2010 page 1464
  • Kirkus Review - Children - 07/01/2002 page 961
  • Publishers Weekly - 06/24/2002 page 56
  • Bookpage - 09/01/2002 page 25
  • Bulletin of Ctr for Child Bks - 09/01/2002 page 30
  • School Library Journal - 09/01/2002 page 203
  • Booksense '76 Childrens Wtr 02 - 11/01/2002 page 1
  • Horn Book Magazine - 11/01/2002 page 737
  • New York Times - 12/22/2002 page 18
  • Booklist Ed Choice Youth - 01/01/2003 page 799
  • Hornbook Guide to Children - 07/01/2002 page 48
  • Wilson Children's Catalog - 01/01/2003 page 88
  • Hornbook Guide to Children - 01/01/2003 page 48
  • Booklist - 07/01/2002 page 1847
  • Wilson Children's Catalog - 01/01/2006 page 968

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Pages   32
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 12.38" Width: 9.38" Height: 0.39"
Weight:   0.95 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Aug 13, 2002
Publisher   Knopf Books for Young Readers
Age  5-8
ISBN  0375821961  
ISBN13  9780375821967  

Availability  0 units.

More About Mary Pope Osborne, Steve Johnson & Louis Francher

Mary Pope Osborne Mary Pope Osborne is the author of the bestselling Magic Tree House series. She has also written many acclaimed retellings of myths, folktales, and works of historical fiction.

Growing Up

I grew up in the military. By the time I was fifteen I had lived in Oklahoma, Austria, Florida, and four different army posts in Virginia and North Carolina. Moving was never traumatic for me, partly, I think, because I had very close and loving relationships with my parents, my twin brother, my younger brother, and my older sister.

When my dad retired to a small city in North Carolina, I still craved the adventure and changing scenery of our military life. Miraculously, one day I found these things, literally only a block away — at the local community theater. From then on, I spent nearly every waking hour after school there, either acting or working backstage. When I stepped from the sunny street into that musty-smelling, dark little theater, all things seemed possible.

From College to New York City

I went on to study drama at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In my junior year, I discovered an even greater realm of adventure and changing scenery: the world of mythology and comparative religion. So I became a religion major and learned as much as I could about other cultures.

After graduating from college in the early 1970s, I lived an intensely varied life. For a while I camped in a cave on the island of Crete. Then I joined up with a small band of European young people heading to “The East.” We traveled overland in a caravan of rickety vans through sixteen Asian countries, including Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and Nepal. We nearly lost our lives, first in an earthquake in northern Afghanistan and then a riot in Kabul. My trip came to an abrupt halt in Kathmandu when I got blood poisoning. During the two weeks I spent in a missionary hospital there, I read all of the Tolkien trilogy. I would sleep, read, and look out the windows at the Himalayas. To this day, my journey to “The East” is tangled up in my mind with Frodo’s adventures. After I returned home and recovered from my illness, I promptly headed back into the real world. I worked as a window dresser in Carmel, California, as a medical assistant in Monterey, California, and as a Russian travel consultant in Washington, D.C. One night in Washington I attended the opening of a musical about Jesse James. From the balcony I fell in love with Will Osborne, the actor/musician playing Jesse. I loved his boots and his white cowboy hat; I loved how he sang and strummed the guitar. A year later, in New York City, we were married.

Thereafter, when I wasn’t on the road with Will, I worked as a waitress in Greenwich Village, taught acting classes in a nursing home in the Bronx, was a bartender in Broadway theaters, and had a job as an assistant editor for a children’s magazine.

I Begin to Write

Then one day, out of the blue, I began writing a story about an eleven-year-old girl in the South. The girl was a lot like me, and many of the incidents in the story were similar to happenings in my childhood. The first draft was crudely written, but it must have communicated something to an editor, because shortly after I finished, it became a young adult novel called Run, Run as Fast as You Can. Finally I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up.

Now more than thirty years and a hundred books later, I feel I’m one of the most fortunate people on earth. I’ve written picture books, biographies, mysteries, novels, retellings of Greek mythology, Norse mythology, medieval stories, mermaid tales, and American tall tales. I’ve written a book on the world religions and a series based on Homer’s Odyssey. But the most fun I’ve ever had in my writing life has been taking journeys through time in the Magic Tree House.

I’ve now published 45 Magic Tree House fiction books. (My husband and my sister Natalie Pope Boyce write the wonderful non-fiction companion books) I’ve recently traveled with Jack and Annie to meet Mozart in Vienna, Louis Armstrong in New Orleans, Lady Gregory in Ireland, and Charles Dickens in Victorian, England.

The latest book, #45 A Crazy Days with Cobras, involves a journey to India four hundreds years ago. Will Jack and Annie survive an encounter with a ruthless emperor, a rogue elephant, and two deadly cobras? Yes, because I wanted to write book #46, Dogs in the Dead of Night, about their journey to help St. Bernard dogs rescue people in the Alps. Will Jack and Annie survive the avalanche that buries them? Yes! Because now I want to go meet Abraham Lincoln with them!

Writing is a miracle. You can travel anywhere in the world, to any time and any place — and still be home in time to have dinner.

Mary Pope Osborne currently resides in New York New York, in the state of Connecticut.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Children > Ages 4-8 > General
2Books > Subjects > Children > Ages 4-8 > Picture Books
3Books > Subjects > Children > History & Historical Fiction > United States > 1800s
4Books > Subjects > Children > Literature > Fairy Tales, Folk Tales & Myths > United States > General
5Books > Subjects > Children > People & Places > Biographies > Historical

Reviews - What do customers think about New York's Bravest?

A folk-hero firefighter  Nov 5, 2007
What child isn't fascinated by firefighters and their bright shiny engines and trucks? Fighting fires is so clearly a heroic occupation that the men and women who do so rank with cartoon superheros in a child's imagination. These are people who routinely risk their own lives pursuing one of the world's most dangerous professions to save the lives of others.

This book is dedicated to the memory of those firefighters who died in the collapse of the World Trade Center towers on 11 September 2001, and what a beautiful tribute it is. The story of Mose, a larger-than-life character similar to Paul Bunyon, reflects the long history of fire fighting in New York. It shows us the true spirit of firefighters everywhere, and reminds us of the dangers of the job (even Mose can't escape!). The illustrations are gorgeous, and help make this a truly memorable memorial to those who dedicate their lives to helping others.
A superbly illustrated heroic tale  Oct 17, 2002
"New York's Bravest" combines text by Mary Pope Osborne with paintings by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher. The book begins with a historical note in which Osborne describes the background of her tale. In 1848, a heroic firefighter character first began appearing in stage productions. This character was based on a real-life New York City firefighter named Mose Humphreys. In 1915, historian Herbert Asbury included some Mose stories in two collections of stories about old New York. As Osborne observes, firefighter Mose is "America's first urban folk hero."

Osborne's story takes place in a past era where newsboys sold papers for a penny each. The story's hero is Mose, an eight foot tall firefighter with superhuman strength. Sample text: "'Come on boys!' said Mose. Mose was the most famous firefighter in New York City."

The story is well enhanced by colorful illustrations that are full of great details. There are some exciting firefighting scenes, as well as some nice pictures of Mose engaged in less dangerous pursuits (such as eating a hearty meal).

The book has the following dedication: "To the memory of the 343 New York City firefighters who gave their lives to save others on September 11, 2001." It's a beautiful tribute that I recommend to readers of all ages.

New York's Folk-Hero Firefighter  Oct 12, 2002
Move over, Paul Bunyan, there's a new tall-tale hero in town.

Well, not exactly a new hero.

In the New York City of the 1840s lived a legendary firefighter named Mose Humphreys. Standing eight feet tall, with "hands as big as Virginia hams," he fought fires all around the great city, striding towards danger with his flaming red hair under his stovepipe hat. Whether rescuing babies from flaming tenements or bankers from burning hotels, Mose was beloved by all New Yorkers for his bravery and selflessness.

Mary Pope Osborne's story, in true American folktale tradition, renders a loving portrait of a man who symbolizes all that we respect and admire in firefighters: courage, willing sacrifice, tireless service to others. These traits were never so dramatically demonstrated as they were on the morning of September 11, 2001, and the story is a fitting tribute to the 343 New York City firefighters lost on that tragic day.

Though dedicated to the memory of modern firefighters, the gritty tones of Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher's illustrations remind us that this is also a tale about firefighting in a city overcrowded with wood-framed buildings and illuminated by oil lamps, when water had to be physically pumped out of tank trucks with enough force to reach the upper floors of very modest buildings, and when firemen needed the strength to carry grown adults rung by rung down wooden ladders. The nineteenth century was a time when fire was a very real possibility, not an unfortunate occurrence that happens to others and played out on our TV screens.

Together, the text and illustrations bring Mose Humphreys to life brilliantly, and make him a potent symbol of the strength, valor, and sacrifice of all firefighters--in New York City and around the world...

An exploration of a well-known American tall tale  Oct 9, 2002
This isn't a focus on 9/11 but a survey of firefighting in the 1840s and the heroism of one of the bravest, Mose Humphreys. Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher's paintings of old New York bring this biography to life in this exploration of a well-known American tall tale.
In Honor of Firefighters Everywhere.....  Sep 24, 2002
"...Mose was the most famous firefighter in New York City. Eight feet tall, Mose had hands as big as Virginia hams. His arms were so strong he could swim the Hudson River in two strokes. When others ran away from danger, Mose ran toward it." Mary Pope Osborne brings the fantastic, and ever-growing legend of 1840s firefighter, Mose Humphreys to life, in this picture book dedicated "to the memory of the 343 New York City firefighters who gave their lives to save others on September 11, 2001." Mose was a larger than life hero and "...everyone knew if they ever needed help, they could count on Mose." One night, a hotel fire near the Hudson River raged out of control, and Mose spent hours running in and out of the building saving everyone. But as the sun came up, and the firefighters packed their equipment, no one could find Mose. Hopefully, they waited, but Mose never returned..... Ms Osborne's engaging text is both exciting and touching. Illustrators, Steve Johnson's and Lou Fancher's lush and bold artwork captures the text beautifully, and is rich in expressive, eye-catching detail. Together, word and art paint a marvelously entertaining tall tale that is relevant to the events of the past year. And as the weeks and months passed, finally an old timer "put the matter to rest." "...Mose is right here. He's marchin' with us in our parades. He's kickin' up his heels at our fancy dances. He's skating by moonlight on the ice pond in the park. And whenever we climb our ladders toward a blazing sky, he climbs with us. Whenever we save folks, he saves them, too. You see, that firefighter-he'll never leave us. He's the very spirit of New York City." Perfect for youngsters 4-8, New York's Bravest is an inspiring tribute, not just to the firefighters of 9/11, but to all the men and women who put their lives on the line daily, to ensure the safety of others, and is sure to open interesting and important discussions.

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