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In 1946, Little Golden Books published this little gem written by Gertrude Crampton and illustrated by Tibor Gergely. Gertrude Crampton is the author of several titles for the Little Golden Books series as well as beginning readers and other non related picture books, and Gergely a self taught artist famous for his illustrations in this and several other titles in the series. Like many of the titles in teh Series, this tale went on to become the fifth best selling hardback of all time in English for children, with it being included in the Smithsonian Institution's Division of Cultural History's Little Golden Books display.
Scuffy is the endearing tale of a little toy tugboat. he is given to a little boy who is the son of the man with the polka dot tie, who own a toy shop. The boy is the man's son and enjoys many hours playing with Scuffy in the bath tub. Scuffy, however is discontented, certain that he is destined for bigger and better things. He is after all, a tug boat, and so he feels great excitement when the man with the polka dot tie and his son take him to a stream to play. The current carries him along and Scuffy feels great joy as he is sure that he is about to realise all his hopes and dreams. However, he soon discovers, as the stream swiftly becomes a river, and rushes on towards the sea, that little toy tugboats are not quite meant for the big world outside, and that it is fraught with perils and dangers he had not previously considered. With great releif he is plucked from the river's mouth by the man with the polka dot tie, and taken home once more, where he sails as king of the bath tub.
The prose of this gentle fable is simple in vacaubulary, but manages to covey the feelings of discontent, excitment, and worry quite well. The pictures illustrate the text well, helping to covey the emotion of the story quite well, without being frightening for the young audience. The gentle roundness and the anthrormorphism of Scuffy is deftly done, and will endear this sweetfaced tugboat into the hearts of children aged 2-7 who come to meet him. Like others in the series, it is short enough for Circle Time or bedtime for preschoolers aged children, and for plasure reading for children past the beginning reader stage.
It comes in the standard Little Golden Book format of a sturdy, wipable hardboard cover with the famous gold foil spine. It's sized for children's hands and the pages are heavyweight acid free paper designed to withstand the clumsier handling of children. As with the other Little Golden Books, they enjoy worldwide distribution via Simon and Schuster across the English speaking world, though many titles are also available in Spansih and Braille. In Great britain, I have not seen these on the shelves of high street books tores, though doubtless you can take the ISBN from Amazon's page and request it. Amazon do have these available for order on their UK site, and this and the other Little Golden Book titles retail for £1.52 each. It's a very small price for a high quality book with an iconic reputation that has succeeded in charming children and their parents for over 60 years.