Today is Perfect Picture Book Friday where I link up with Susannah Leonard Hill’s fantastic group of writers who contribute a picture book review and related resources.
My selection is a classic picture book from 1939…kids love hearing it as much as they did over 70 years ago when it was first published! Since Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, I’ve chosen a craft that parents and/or teachers might want to try with their children.
Written and illustrated by Hardie Gramatky
Publishers: G. P. Putnam (original: 1939, but many different editions over the years)
Ages: 3 – 7
Themes: Mastering tasks and skills, maturation
Opening: “At the foot of an old, old wharf lives the cutest, silliest little tugboatr you ever saw. A very handsome tugboat with a brand new candy-stick smoke-stack. His name is Little Toot.”
Synopsis: Little Toot spends his days “playing” in New York City harbour, getting in the way of the other tugboats that are working hard. The little tugboat enjoys sailing in figure-eights and blowing big smokeballs. While his father and grandfather,famous for their strength and bravery, work diligently, Little Toot fools around. The entire fleet of tugboats despair that Little Toot will ever learn to do the job he was born to do. However, when a big ocean liner gets into trouble during a storm, Little Toot must decide if he will continue his childish antics or rise to the occasion and save the day?
Why do I like this book:
Growing up is a difficult task. Children often hear parents and teachers exclaim, “When will you grow up and act your age?” Just like Leo the Late Bloomer, Little Toot helps parents realize that their children will mature in their own unique time. The story also gives hope to young children that they will master those tasks and skills they are challenged with now and shows them how Little Toot was able to channel his energy in a positive way.
The book is filled with Mr. Gramatky’s beautiful watercolor illustrations and the text is perfectly simple and simply perfect! The reader and listener are drawn into the drama on the high seas…will Little Toot be able to rescue the ocean liner?
There is a website dedicated to Little Toot and the other works of Hardie Gramatky with teacher/parent/child activities and information: http://www.littletoot.org/
Since Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, how about making a Tugboat Valentine Box for your child to store all of his or her Valentine cards. My thanks to Courtney, one of my coworkers, who made this awesome Valentine Boat.
You will need: Shoebox with lid, piece of cardboard (from cereal box or men’s dress shirt), construction paper, markers or crayons, white school glue or glue stick, scissors, Valentine stickers (optional…you can always cut the out of construction paper).
1. Cut the piece of cardboard to fit the front of the bottom of the box as the “bow” of the boat. Glue in place.
2. Cut a hole in the lid for the “mail” slot.
3. Cover the outside of the box and the lid with construction paper and glue in place.
4. Cut several strips of paper and roll to form the smoke-stacks. Glue in place.
5. Add the decorations and designs with markers, crayons and stickers.
This post is part of a series for parents and teachers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays hosted by Susannah Leonard Hill. Click on her link and find lots of other picture book suggestions with summaries and activities.