"Little Toot"


Book: Little Toot

Author and Illustrator: Hardie Gramatky

Publisher: Penguin Group USA, republished in 2007

ISBN-13: 9780399247132

ISBN-10: 0399247130

Language level: 1 (nothing objectionable)

Reading level: Ages 4-8

Rating: 5 stars (EXCELLENT)

Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker

For more information e-mail homeschoolbookreview@gmail.com

Gramatky, Hardie. Little Toot (published in 1939 by G. Putnam’s Sons). I remember the story of Little Toot from my childhood. Little Toot is an anthropomorphic tugboat child, who thinks that work is a joke, and prefers to play around making figure 8s and doing other games that irritate the rest of the tugboats, who call him a “Sissy.” After being rejected by the tugboat community, he dejectedly drifts out to sea, where he accidentally discovers a shipwrecked liner and gains a chance to prove his worth. Author and illustrator Bernhard (Hardie) August Gramatky (1907-1979) was an animator for Walt Disney Studios in Anaheim, CA, from 1930 to 1936, when he moved to the East Coast. His art studio in New York City, NY, overlooked the East River, where he spent many hours watching different kinds of boats go by.

These scenes became the inspiration for Little Toot, which was first published in 1939. Disney knew a good thing when he saw it and incorporated the story into an animated movie feature entitled Melody Time, released in 1948. When our boys were little, we had a copy of the book, I think in a Little Golden Books edition, and we also have a DVD of Melody Time with the story of Little Toot. In 2007, to honor what would have been Gramatky’s 100th birthday, Penguin Putnam rescanned the original artwork, added nine original full-color sketches by the illustrator, and brought back detailed endpapers so the book has been restored to its first-edition coloring.

Gwyn Williams wrote in the Sept./Oct., 2001 (Vol. 10, No. 5) issue of Homeschooling Today Magazine (p. 22), “As homeschoolers, we know that truly excellent books can be numbered among those treasures long after our children have outgrown the ‘twaddle’ so readily available in our bookstores. One of those memory-building books is Little Toot, by Hardie Gramatky.” Gramatky did some sequels, such as Little Toot on the Mississippi and Little Toot on the Thames. His last book, Little Toot and the Loch Ness Monster, was unfinished at the time of his death but was later completed by Dorothea Cooke Gramatky and published in 1989, and his daughter Linda Gramatky-Smith did Little Toot and the Lighthouse.

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0 Responses to "Little Toot"

  1. Wayne says:

    I received the following comment from Hardie Gramatky’s daughter Linda Gramatky-Smith.

    Oh, I just got home from a wonderful Bible Study, opened up my computer, and found this delightful review of my dad’s books, Little Toot. Yes, there is a story that God has used for 71 years to encourage children to be what He knows they can be, a hero in all aspects of the word. I sort of feel like Little Toot was my brother, and I am so, so proud of what Dad wrote and illustrated! I know when he died at age 72 in 1979 that this humble man would never have imagined that the book and his watercolors would go on for the next 30+ years.

    In fact, driving home this morning I was thinking about mornings when I would see Dad sitting there reading the Bible and underlining special quotes with his pencil. And then a praise song came on my CD and it reminded me of Dad and Mom watching me from Heaven, always close by.

    There is another website, http://www.gramatky.com, that describes a bit about my dad and his blessed life.

    Thanks, Wayne, for adding Dad’s book to your Homeschooling blog. And I wish I could tell Gwyn Williams how I appreciated her review in Homeschooling Today nine years ago. Just before Dad died, there was a warehouse flood at G. P. Putnam’s and all the Little Toot sequels that had been stored there were destroyed. As the editor explained to us after Dad’s death, “Without an author available to go out and promote the sequels” they couldn’t be reprinted. So many librarians wish they could have reprints of the sequels.

    Blessings, Linda (Westport, CT)

    Linda Gramatky Smith
    60 Roseville Road
    Westport, CT 06880
    (203) 221-1944

    Besides the http://www.gramatky.com website, there is http://www.littletoot.org also.

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