Drama = Fire+Handicapped Kid

Help fire coverHelp! Fire

Long time veterans of this site will of course recognize the ALB mascot author and illustrator just from the cover.

How can you resist the premise? Handicapped kid caught in a burning house. Where were those parents? Who started this mess? Naturally no one answers the interesting questions. Our hero, Daniel was left alone for “just a minute”. All of a sudden a major fire happens and Daniel can’t get out. (You know, cuz he’s handicapped) Thanks to firefighters and brother (and even the dogs!) Daniel lives another day as a hero.

This time we also have a bonus! There are questions for discussion included! (Unfortunately, the questions I want answered are not presented.)


Help fire back cover

Daniel's disability

fire starts

fire extinguisher


Daniel back at school

discussion questions


  1. From the book samples Daniel can clearly get about in various ways, so why is the back of the book painting him as helpless because he has no legs? I guess even Ms. Sanford falls victim to bad cover blurbs.

  2. How come he couldn’t get out if he’s so agile without his chair? How did he try to put the fire out without trying to leave? Get your sh*t together, Doris.

  3. Wait up. His parents have a boy with no legs… and a wood stove… and they’ve NEVER ONCE discussed fire safety [sidebar: a kid that age is old enough to know you don’t throw pillows AT a fire] or made an escape plan of any kind?


    1. Most parents in Doris’ stories tend to be incredibly negligent, abusive (whether toward the kids or their spouse), or just plain stupid. This book is no exception.

  4. As a volunteer firefighter, I could only wish all fires of that size are as easy to see in. And Dan, the firefighter DOES look like John Oates 🙂 and it does leave you wondering about a lot things. Doris does it again!

  5. Oh, Jaysus, Doris, not again…

    The next title (for either her book or literary criticism thereof) should be, “I Survived Reading Doris Sandford’s Books for Children.”

    1. Needs to be pulpier. Something like “Make the Scary Books Go Away” with a terrible pencil drawing of a child that looks weirdly old.

  6. I too am interested in reading My Friend the Enemy now, as well as the other two Children of Courage books. If they’re as wildly inconsistent as this one is, they should be a hoot!

  7. The worrying part is that actually it looks like this is part of a series called “Children of Courage” which makes you think there must be others. Doris Sanford was certainly prolific. (I’m not sure what it means when that is the nicest thing I can saw about an author.)

  8. Ah, the Ted McGinley of ALB strikes terror into our hearts again. Maybe you should just make this site a Sanford Appreciation Society and be done with it? I love how this one combines dubious fire saftey information AND patronising people with disabilities.

    1. The stupid discussion questions at the end are an embarrassment, too. Ooh, how could I be a friend to a person who could not walk? Exactly the same way I could be a friend to a person who could walk, perchance?

  9. I think you got the title and the back cover heading switched. It’s “Help! Fire!”

    I’m actually pleased to see her branching out and doing work other than stories of sexual violation.

  10. “Someone special lives inside that little boy” – sounds like the beginning of a horror movie. Otherwise very patronising – the ‘real’ Daniel lives inside his ‘damaged’ body, rather than being his body as well as his mind (and soul if you believe in one).

  11. Fireman Sam delivered the same basic message way, way better back in the mid-80s. Pity it doesn’t seem to have made it out of the UK.

  12. I never seen this book in my town’s library, maybe because i’m French and it didn’t get translated (yet ? I don’t hope so!). As an aspiring librarian and writer (for teens/adultes or children), i find these books very distubiring and creepy. 🙁

  13. That cover art…Rescued a pedophile Jon Oates impersonator, out of the frying pan into the fire, so to speak.

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