Scuffy goes down the river

I remember Scuffy the Tugboat and his Adventures down the River (by Gertrude Crampton, illustrated by Tibor Gergely, Little Golden Book 1955) from when I was little. I didn't realise that Scuffy the Tugboat contained laundry images though. And what charming, old fashioned, rustic images they are. Scuffy is a little toy tugboat who was sad and cross at being imprisoned in a toyshop. The owner and his little boy try letting him play in a bathtub but it isn't enough for Scuffy, who escapes when taken to sail in the river.

At first the jouney down the river is pleasant, he passes a cow drinking from the meadow bank and women washing clothes on the bank and little woods filled with violets. I love this illustration, but only if I don't think too hard. Otherwise I start to imagine standing in cold water, washing clothes, pollution downstream, what may be coming from upstream, washing your clothes in the same water that a cow is standing and probably shitting in. Eeew. Not romantic at all when one thinks about it. Give me a washing machine and town water any day.

In the end Scuffy's journey takes him to the big city where he is tossed around the port and finally he fears sailing out into a big rough sea. He wishes he were back in the bathtub. The man and his boy find him and take him home to safety.

1 comment:

  1. Baldric Ignatius Harris13 October 2006 at 02:39

    I remember and love Scuffy. Yes, the cows may have been shitting, but what lovely illustrations. I have an edition from 1946 that has text and ilustrations that are missing from later editions. Sadly, it is so dog-eared I don't think it's fit for dinner. If anyone has an early edition, with the pictures of raccons and rabbits, (And the fabulous, full page, "I Like Night!" illustration, please e-mail at once!) Anyway, thank you.