Wednesday, January 31, 2018

"Charlie the Tramp" - a bookwrap

What is a tramp?  According to Collin's Dictionary:

tramp is a person who has no home or job, and very little money. Tramps go from place to place, and get food or money by asking people or by doing casual work.


"Charlie the Tramp"

Authored by Russel Hoban
Illustrated by Lillian Hoban

 Age Range: 3 - 8 years
Grade Level: 2 - 3

* Authors of Bread and Jam for Frances
*American classic 
* Special 50th Anniversary (hardcover)
*Winner of Boys Club of American Junior Book Award

Praise for the book

An especially memorable character study of a runaway beaver…unique, humorous, precise of speech.…How touching the moment when Charlie’s father looks at his truant son’s first serious nighttime labor and says, ‘Any tramp that can make a pond like that is going to be some beaver one of these days.’-The Atlantic Monthly

The illustrations are utterly charming, as Lillian Hoban’s always are, and it is wonderful to see that this story has completely stood the test of time! (5 Stars)
Youth Services Book Review

Unwrapping some great illustrations

About the book

“‘What are you going to be when you grow up, Charlie?’ asked Grandfather.
‘I am going to be a tramp,’ said Charlie.
. . .

‘I don’t think Charlie really wants to be a tramp,’ said Mother.

‘Yes, I do,’ said Charlie. ‘Tramps don’t have to learn how to chop down trees and how to roll logs and how to build dams.’”

Charlie has made up his mind that he wants to live footloose and fancy-free and not be stuck practicing swimming strokes and holding his breathe under water.  He doesn't want to worry if his teeth are sharpened or his fur coat is oiled.  He's very excited to carry a little stick over his shoulder with his fig newtons and some Good-and-Plenties packed inside, sleep in a field when the weather is nice or take refuge in a barn if it rains.  It all sounds like a very glamorous lifestyle to him.  But is it really? 

His mother, father and grandfather are not that pleased with his career choice but they allow him to follow his dreams.  Charlie strikes out on his tramp-adventure but doesn't actually wander too far away from home.  

He comes back the next day and offers to help out with odd jobs around the den so he can earn his meals. As he works along side his father he confesses that last night something kept waking him up and it seemed to be calling out to him.   The next night Charlie discovers what's causing him to awaken.  It is a trickling, tickling song and he gets up to find out where the source is coming from. To his amazement it is a little stream that sings as it runs along in the moonlight.  Charlie can sit still no longer.  He takes off all his clothes and dives into the water and immediately gets busy.  What do you suppose he is going to do?  He can't stop the urge to create something and that is exactly what Charlie did.  He designed a masterpiece just like his dad is capable of doing.   

When his parents and grandfather come looking for him because he hasn't returned home,  they find a lovely surprise waiting for them.  Grandfather sums it up perfectly... "You never know when a tramp will turn out to be a beaver." 

The illustrations are lovely and you fall in love with adventurous, sweet Charlie.  This American classic is once again resurrected in a special hardcover 50th anniversary edition.  The book was Winner of the Boys Club of America Junior Book Award, 1968.  This is lovely classic to add to your child's collection.   

Storywraps Rating -  5+++ HUGS!!!!!

Introducing the Author

Russell Hoban (1925-2011) first became famous for his children’s picture books about a badger named Frances and other animal characters that have a lot in common with children we know – Bedtime for Frances, A Baby Sister for Frances, Bread and Jam for Frances, and Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas, among others – and for a young adult novel, The Mouse and His Child. Hoban was born in Pennsylvania and served in World War II. He lived with his wife, Lillian Hoban, who illustrated many of his books, and their four children in Connecticut until 1969, when he moved to London. There he married Gundela Ahl and had three more children. In England, Hoban wrote acclaimed adult novels, including Lion of Boaz-Jachin and Riddley Walker. 

About the illustrator

Lillian Hoban (1925-1998), one of America's favorite children's book illustrators, is best known for a young chimpanzee named Arthur and his little sister, Violet, and for illustrating six of Russell Hoban's books about Frances the badger, which have taken their place among the great classics of children's literature. Lillian Hoban was born in Philadelphia and attended the Philadelphia Museum School of Art. She studied dance for ten years and became a professional dancer. She began to write and illustrate her own stories only after having children, basing her tales on their experiences. 

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