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Echoes of Hardie Gramatky's 1939 Little Toot can be seen in the pages of this tugboat tale by Savage (Where's Walrus?). But while Gramatky's tale chronicled a feckless junior tugboat's relationships with the ships in New York's waterways and concluded with his heroic redemption, Savage's book depicts Little Tug as beloved and helpful from the start. The story has the tempo of a waltz, as readers meet three other ships (a sailboat, a speedboat, and an ocean liner), each of which get into trouble of a sort, and are rescued in turn by Little Tug. "He's not the biggest boat in the harbor. But when the tall ship is still, and the speedboat's motor breaks down, and the big ocean liner can't fit into the harbor, he pulls, he pushes, and guides the boats to safety." The crisp stencil-style art, in high-contrast industrial blue-grays with brick-red highlights and grainy shading, maintains an even keel. Savage dispenses the action in mild, reassuring doses, shifting from the tugboat's rescue efforts to a soothing nautical bedtime. Readers who love ships can expect smooth sailing. Ages 2-6. Agent: Brenda Bowen, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
Little Tug is having an identity crisis. The tall ship is taller. The speedboat is faster. The ocean liner is bigger. But when each of his friends is in trouble, Little Tug comes to the rescue ( he pulls, he pushes, and guides the boats to safety ), and each repays his kindness in his or her own unique way. The straightforward story unfolds across the course of a single day, beginning at dawn and ending at dusk. Savage expresses this arc with careful attention to color and hue, sea and sky transforming from dark navys and grays to purples and pinks to a bright blue and back again. The anthropomorphized vessels and crisp, flat backgrounds recall an earlier era of illustration, which adds a vintage charm to the outing. The spiral storytelling and stylized illustration combine for a book that is both a winning read-aloud and a deceptively simple exploration of individuality perfectly suited for its target toddler audience.--Barthelmess, Thom Copyright 2010 Booklist
School Library Journal
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PreS-From the early morning hours through the end of the day, Little Tug is helpful to other boats and ships in the harbor. Though not the most impressive-looking vessel in port, he is strong and able to be of assistance to others. Each boat has a face with easily read emotions displayed, running the gamut from smug, happy, worried, and sad to sleepy. Sharp, clean, economical lines and saturated colors, mainly in the blues and purples of water with a bit of pink thrown in to depict sunrise and sunset, create a pleasing palette that is gentle on the eyes. Petite but powerful, the small red tug feels a sense of accomplishment during the day but still enjoys being pampered at bedtime. Large type, simple sentences, and repetition offer a pleasing story line and showcase the appealing illustrations.-Maryann H. Owen, Racine Public Library, WI (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.