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Little Toot    by Hardie Gramatky order for
Little Toot
by Hardie Gramatky
Order:  USA  Can
Putnam, 1988 (1939)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Little Toot is another popular classic that has resulted in many spin-offs. There are Sticker Stories, a Tub Time version and tales that take the little tugboat to the Mississippi, the Golden Gate, and even to an encounter with the Loch Ness Monster. It's an underdog story, of course. Toot is a very small tugboat who wants to impress his larger father and grandfather with his skills. However, 'Blow hard as he could, the only sound that came from his whistle was a small, merry toot-toot-toot.' He liked to play around the piers and make 'fancy figure 8's' across the river.

Children learn about what goes on in a busy harbor, which brings together ships from all over the world, and they learn what tugboats do. But Little Toot didn't want to work hard. He'was scared of the wild seas that lay in wait beyond the river's end', all the other tugboats made fun of him, and he sulked. When he finally decides he wants to help, Toot is not taken seriously. But then he gets his chance to assist an ocean liner in distress in a big storm, and becomes the hero who makes his grandfather and father proud.

Little Toot has elements in common with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, The Boy Who Cried Wolf and The Little Engine That Could. It is indeed one of the greats, not to be missed.

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