Sunday, September 09, 2007

Restored Edition of Beloved Children's Classic Little Toot Cruises Into Bookstores This Fall

Little Toot, Hardie Gramatky's beloved picture book about an energetic little tugboat, has sold over six million copies since 1939. This fall, Little Toot (G.P. Putnam's Sons/ISBN # 9780399247132) will chug into stores in a new edition that restores the vibrant colors and endpapers of the original. Adults who remember cheering for Little Toot as he drew figure 8's in the harbor and rooting for him as he battled gigantic waves to save an ocean liner will delight in sharing this classic piece of Americana with their children and grandchildren.

The restored classic edition marks the 100th anniversary of former Disney animator Hardie Gramatky's birth and includes never-before-published paintings and sketches. Kids will connect with Little Toot's love of gliding on the river, his desire to prove he's as important as the other tugboats, and his determination to overcome fears and make his parents proud. Readers will rejoice in his triumph as he saves the day and becomes a hero.

Gramatky, an illustrator and fine artist, was born in Dallas, attended Stanford University and the Chouinard School of Art, and began his career in 1929 at Walt Disney Studios before moving to New York in 1936.

From his studio Gramatky liked to watch boats on the East River. One little Moran tugboat seemed to have a personality of its own, never being in the right place at the right time. Gramatky did watercolors and sketches of tugboats and began to write a story to go with them. After a rejection from a publisher who said "Children aren't thinking that way this year," G.P. Putnam published Little Toot (, which has since been translated into seven languages.

Gramatky was also a noted watercolorist. In 2006 Andrew Wyeth named him one of the "20 all-time great American watercolorists," along with Winslow Homer, Edward Hopper, and Georgia O'Keeffe, in an interview in Watercolor magazine. When Gramatky was elected to the National Academy of Design in 1950, he was one of only 25 watercolorists to be so honored. His awards include the High Winds Medal of the American Watercolor Society, and his work is in the Brooklyn Museum of Art, The Art Institute of Chicago, and the Toledo Museum of Art, among others.