Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Molly, by Golly! The Legend of Molly Williams, America's First Female Firefighte

Molly, by Golly! The Legend of Molly Williams, America's First Female Firefighte

Dianne Ochiltree
Illustrator:  Kathleen Kemly 
Historical Fiction Picture Book
For ages 6 to 8
Boyds Mills Press, 2012   ISBN: 978-1590787212

Molly Williams works for Mr. Aymar, who is a member of the No. 11 volunteer fire company. This means that she takes care of “the lads” in the company as well as her employer. What no one fully realizes is that Molly can “put hands and heart to every task, in or out of the kitchen.”

One snowy night a fire breaks out, and with so many of the men suffering from the influenza, the No. 11 volunteer fire company is shorthanded. Molly rushes to the fire station, and without being asked she dons the leather helmet, gloves and other clothes that the firemen wear when they are called out. In no time she is helping men to pull the heavy pumper engine to the scene of the fire. Then she helps with a bucket brigade, and when the pumper engine is full of water, she helps to crank the pump handles. If there is a job to be done, Molly can be depended on to help in any way she can.

In this inspirational tale, Dianne Ochiltree tells the story of America’s first female firefighter, an African American woman who lived in New York City in the early 1800s. The author paints a realistic picture of what it was like to work as a firefighter in the 19th century, and readers will be amazed to hear how tough and brave Molly was.

At the back of the book the author provides readers with further information about Molly Williams’s life.