1939, 1st year edition; G.P. Putnam's Sons publishers, New York; "Weekly Reader Children's Book Club"; hardbound with pictoral boards of Little Toot; quite good condition with unmarked pages and tight binding; very minor aging.
Little Toot is a children's story written and illustrated by Hardie Gramatky, featuring a young tugboat who does not want to tug. Instead, he'd rather make figure eights in the harbor and bother all the other tugboats. But when he ends up all alone on the open water as a storm is rolling in, it’s up to him to save a stuck ocean liner.
The book (G. P. Putnam's Sons first children's book) has been continually in print since 1939. In 2007, in honor of what would have been 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. 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.
The story appeared in an animated segment of the Walt Disney Studios film Melody Time in 1948; the story was sung by the Andrews Sisters, with Vic Schoen providing the background musical score. In this version, Little Toot disgraces his father Big Toot by recklessly (albeit unintentionally) causing an ocean liner - one Big Toot was towing out to sea - to crash into the city. Little Toot is banished from the harbor as a result. In exile, Little Toot realizes that he must "grow up" - in other words, give up his careless ways - in order to earn respect from the other boats...including Big Toot, who has been stuck towing garbage scows ever since that fiasco with the ocean liner. Then Little Toot gets his chance: another ocean liner gets stuck on a reef, beyond the 12-mile limits; since Big Toot and the police boats are bottled up in the harbor by a storm, Little Toot must single-handedly rescue the grounded liner...which he does.
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.