Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Charlie the Tramp - a children's book review

I was first introduced to Russell Hoban when my children were young. His series of children's books featuring a badger as the main character caught their attention quickly. Bedtime for Frances was one of their favorites and we read it often as they were preparing for bed. Mr. Hoban began writing books for children's in the the late 1950s. He was trained as an illustrator and wrote copy for advertising agencies. He also produced paintings for books and magazines. Mr. Hoban preferred writing over illustration and passed the illustrating of his books on to others.

Today, I had the pleasure of reading another of Russell Hoban's books, Charlie the Tramp. This classic was first written in 1966 and has been re-released in a beautiful 50th anniversary hardcover edition. In this delightful little book, Charlie, a beaver, decides he wants to go off into the world to become a tramp. He has decided the life of a tramp is much more desirable than that of a beaver and much easier, too. The story develops as Charlie shares his decision with his parents and his grandfather. In an excerpt from the book, Charlie says, "Tramps don't have to learn how to chop down trees and how to roll logs and how to build dams. Tramps just tramp around and have a good time. Tramps carry sticks with little bundles tied to them. They sleep in a field when the weather is nice, and when it rains they sleep in a barn."

I was pleased to find the presentation of good morals and values in the story line. Charlie learns he has the right to make up his own mind as his parents give him the freedom to do so. Charlie learns, after setting out on his own, that being who he was supposed to be wasn't so bad after all.

This hardcover book is geared toward children ages 3-8 but would appeal to children of all ages. The book is illulstrated by Lillian Hoban, wife of Russell Hoban. The photos in the book are done in black and white. Each drawing has a whimsical nature that children will love.

Charlie the Tramp received the Boys Club of America Junior Book Award in 1968. The author, now deceased, leaves quite a legacy of beautifully written books for young readers. A complete list of Mr. Hoban's books can be found here.

I would like to thank Plough Publishing for giving me an opportunity to review this wonderful children's book. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. The book was presented for my honest review and I was not encouraged to provide a positive review.

The book can be purchased through Plough Publishing by clicking here. It can also be purchased on Amazon.

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