Fireboat gave perhaps one of the best presentations of the events of 9/11 that I've yet seen in a children's book. It was presented carefully, factually, and with enough information to inform kids about the events and the emotions surrounding it, without making them feel frightened or unsafe. I was impressed at the way in which it opened the door for parents or teachers to discuss this event with kids.
Unfortunately, the kids were not so impressed. Sort of were not. My niece didn't engage with the book until the 9/11 events came into the story, and then she was right on top of it. I wasn't even aware that she had learned about 9/11, but she has, and she was telling me all about what she does know. As I say, Fireboat was a great discussion starter.
I really checked this book out for my nephew, thinking that he'd think it was a pretty cool story (it's a boat and it fights fires--what's not for a little boy to love?). I don't think he heard a single word of this book--he just was not interested. So, 9/11 treatment was great. Story of the John J. Harvey? Apparently, "meh."