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AN ESCAPE FROM THE BATHTUB
on 31 January 2001
Way back in 1946, toy stores were tranquil uncrowded places. The Baby Boom was yet to take off. In the toy shop there was a rocking horse, a GI Joe Doll and a few cuddly soft toys ........ and one grumpy red painted tugboat called Scuffy.
Scuffy was ambitious. He thought he was meant for bigger things, than just sailing in a bathtub.
The toy shop owner (with his memorable polka dot tie) and his little boy, took Scuffy off to a laughing brook. It was springtime and the brook was running fast. Scuffy was soon off on his adventure.
The pastoral world he passed through seemed placid, but at night the hooting owl gave him a fright.
The river got bigger and busier. Scuffy was proud because he knew it was HIS river. He was nearly squashed between two logs that were on their way to the sawmill. With the spring melt a great flood burst the rivers banks. A lady and her cow had to be rescued off her roof.
Pushed along by the floodwaters Scuffy arrived in the big city. It was a very noisy and busy place. When Scuffy tooted nobody noticed.
Scuffy was just about to be swept out to sea. He wished the man with the polka dot tie and his little boy could rescue him. Miracle of miracles, there they were just as Scuffy was about to pass the last bit of land. He was rescued.
Scuffy realises that sailing in the bathtub is not such a bad thing ...... in fact he said "this is the life for me".
The illustrations by Tibor Gergely are what make this book so appealing. The scenes are full of life and activity, be it the pastoral river scene with its friendly animals and the colourful towns and cities. Look for the details in the city scene. Try to find the horses.
Tibor Gergely was a great children's book illustrator from this period. In addition to his artwork in Scuffy you can enjoy his illustrations in those other "Little Golden Book" classics, "The Little Red Caboose" and "Tootle". These three books are perfect companions in any young person's library.