Scuffy the tugboat feels stifled in the toy shop where he sits. His owner senses his unhappiness and puts him in a bath tub. Scuffy still feels he is meant for bigger things. The toy shop owner then takes Scuffy to the stream, where Scuffy makes a getaway.
The toy maker and his son try hard to stop him, but to no avail. Scuffy is on his way to Bigger things.
Scuffy floats past meadows enjoying the view, until a cow decides to drink Scuffy. Scuffy escapes but finds out that as night approaches he is all alone, with no company to keep. Scuffy soon moves from the little stream to a river where logging is done. He dodges the floating logs and reaches the river of steam boats.
Stormy weather and rains follow and the water is too much for Scuffy. He finds himself in the midst of flood relief efforts where sand bags upon sand bags are piled by people to form an enbankment.
Scuffy sails into the big, blue sea where he finds stately ships and large cargo ships standing. No one hears Scuffy’s toots amidst the noise of the harbour. Scuffy sees before him the never ending sea and wishes hard for his kind master ‘the man with the polka dot tie and his little boy’.
A hand pulls him out of the sea and he finds himself with the polka dot tie man and he is delighted. He goes back home to happily sail in the safety of the bath tub, admired by the little boy and his father.
This charming picture book by Gertrude Crampton and Tibor Gergley bring alive the life that thrives near the streams, rivers and sea. It shows Scuffy the tugboat starting his journey at the top of a little brook on a hill. Scuffy sails from brook to stream, stream to river, river to harbour and harbour to the mouth of the sea.
The bubbling brook, the gentle stream, the river – waterway when calm and destructor when flooded, the harbour where ships get ready to go into the sea and finally the sea itself- large and seemingly never ending.
Gergley’s illustrations beautifully capture the changing landscape along Scuffy’s journey.
Everyone can relate to Scuffy’s wanting of Bigger things. We all aspire and travel many journeys to reach our goals. Often at the end of it we realise we were always where we belonged and the strife for bigger things is sometimes unecessary. Scuffy would never know the joys of the toy store if he did not have his big adventure. He would have always complained and been a sour-puss. His adventure makes him realise how happy he is from where he started and that is where he belongs.
A wonderful story for one and all, its no wonder Scuffy The Tugboat ranks high in the favourite children’s books of all time.