Little Toot is a children's story written and illustrated by Hardie Gramatky in 1939. It tells the story of Little Toot, an anthropomorphic tugboat child, who thinks that work is a joke and prefers to play around making figure 8s and play games, which irritates the other tugboats, who call him a "Sissy". He is rejected by the tugboat community and dejectedly drifts out to sea, where he accidentally discovers a shipwrecked liner and a chance to prove his worth.
The book (G. P. Putnam's Sons first children's book) has been continually in print for 71 years. In 2007, in honor of what would have been Hardie Gramatky's 100th birthday, Penguin Putnam publishers 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 colors and vibrancy. The correct International Standard Book Number is 9780399247132. Daniel Pinkwater and Scott Simon read and raved about the restored classic edition ("Hardie Gramatky never speaks down to children") on NPR's Weekend Edition in October 2007.
In the animated Disney version, Little Toot actually disgraces his father "Big Toot" with his childish antics, and is exiled from the harbor. There he learns that he must give up his foolishness and grow up in order to earn the respect of the other boats and of his father.
The story appeared in an animated segment of the Walt Disney Studios film Melody Time in 1948, with the story being sung by the Andrews Sisters with Vic Schoen providing the background musical score. When Capitol Records produced a record with the Little Toot song, it was the first children's record to hit the 1,000,000 sales mark on Billboard, according to then-president Alan Livingston.
There was also another movie based on Little Toot called The New Adventures of Little Toot. It featured Samuel Vincent as the voice of the title character and was released on home video in 1992 by Strand Home Video.
The movie starts with threes in a storm. The father sends his children to a safety boat while he stays on his ship. In the morning, Salty the seagull and Echo the dolphin (they called her that because her voice sounds like an echo) notice the dogs and bring them aboard the deck. Echo goes look for Captain Dogwood, the father of the pups. The pups introduce themselves as Andy and Tina. Salty agrees to help find their father because he knows him. The only get to him is with Little Toot, a tugboat who use to be the busiest and proudest until the boats got too big for him and sat in the docks looking sorry for himself and then got all dirty and messy and become home for three cats, who make anything miserable. They plan get the rid of them by scaring them, since cats are scared of dogs. At first they got scare, but then when they realize they're just puppies, they got less impress. They want them off Toot but they refuse saying they need him to collect sardines. They also fret to put them overboard where a shark is, until Salty gives Toot the encouragement needs to get ride of the dogs. Toot uses his hose on the cats since they also hate water. It works and the cats runaway. They then start to clean Toot up until he was ship shape. Echo returns and tells them he's on an island shipwrecked. As Salty goes to collect his most favorite food Percy's Pelican Pickles, while the rest gets bubble gum and ice cream. Claude, the cat leader, vows to get to Little Toot get the sardines. As Salty aboards Toot, the gang travels many miles and destinations until they meant the weather lady. She proclaims that she knows what happen Dogwood, saying she made the storm because it's her job to create the weather. She warns them that she must her job to make sure the weather changes. She soon starts her weather storm and the gang battles through the weather. Meanwhile, the cats try to boat to Toot, but it was difficult to battle the weather. They call out to them, and swims back to help them. When Salty points that they're towards Skull Rocks, the cats beg to return to their boat, only for it to sink. Lucky, Echo calls out to Toot to surf. By the time they it out safely, the weather stops. The pups congraduate Toot, while Salty orders the cats to clean up Toot, much to their charging. They make it to the island and find Dogwood's ship partly wrecked but safe. While Salty and the pups go find Dogwood, Toot falls asleep and the cats use the rope to tie the captain's ship to Toot, because they think that there's sardines in the kitchen. They find Dogwood and wakes up, happy to see his kids and Salty. Suddenly the volcano starts to erupt and they get on Toot and sail out, whiles the cats manage to tie the ship and get toadded away. Lava blocks their way, but Toot has an idea. They put all the bubblegum in his mouth and he starts to blow a humongous bubble. They fly over the lava just in time. As they float back down, they all congraduate Little Toot saying there's still lots more for Little Toot and he replies that he'll never feel sorry for himself again. As for the cats, they try to find the sardines, only Dogwood to reveal that he threw them overboard to lighten the boat, much to the cats dismay. When Toot compromise that they might like the pickles they, Salty throws a fit refusing to share the pickles because he loves them then starts to talk out of control until he starts to laugh. Everyone begins to have a good laugh, except for the cats who decide eat what ever is let on the ship and depress that they don't have any sardines. As rest of gang laughs, they all head back to harbor to get ready for more adventures.
Little Toot series titles
- Little Toot (1939)
- Little Toot on the Thames (1964)
- Little Toot on the Grand Canal (1968)
- Little Toot on the Mississippi (1973)
- Little Toot Through the Golden Gate (1975)
- Little Toot and the Loch Ness Monster (1989, completed posthumously by Gramatky's wife and daughter)
- Interview on Weekend Edition at NPR
- Little Toot restored classic edition info
- The New Adventures of Little Toot at IMDB
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