Did you enjoy the Frances books by Russell Hoban that are illustrated by Lillian Hoban? I always did as a child and read them to my little ones. I had never heard of the book Charlie the Tramp written by the same author. I admit, I chuckled when I heard the title and read the excerpt below:
Tramps just tramp around and have a good time.
They 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 bet you are chuckling a bit now or at least smiling. It is funny to read that and think that this is a real children’s book that was originally published in 1966. The book is about Charlie, a young beaver. One day when his grandfather comes for a visit and asks Charlie what he wants to be when he grows up, Charlie tells his family that he wants to be a tramp.
The family asks him why he does not want to do the work of a beaver, cutting down trees, rolling trees in the water and building dams. Charlie tells them it is too much work and he would rather be a tramp. So his father lets him try it out. The first day Charlie acts like a tramp returning home to do some little jobs for a meal and sleeping in the field.
On he second night he hears the stream calling to him and before he knows it, he naturally did what beavers do and built a dam that turned that stream into a pond like his father and grandfather make. He worked so hard, he went to sleep and missed breakfast which worried his family. They went to look for him and saw the new pond. When they found out Charlie had built it, they were impressed and happy that Charlie was following in their footsteps.
Mother hurried home to get a big breakfast of flapjacks and maple syrup on the table before the men came home.
Although this 50-year-old story may make us giggle, the message is as true today as it was then. Don’t we know young people who lack the ambition and drive to do more than just the bare minimum needed to survive? I could go on for a long time about this but I will spare you. I think the message is important, take pride in doing things that you have a talent and ability for. Don’t take the easy road but strive to be the best you can be!
Plough editor Sam Hine says, “As a parent of young children I’ve rarely found new books of this quality. So, like many other parents, I find myself returning to the books of my own childhood. Among these Charlie the Tramp was a hands-down favorite. We’re thrilled to acquire the rights to this timeless classic and make it available to a third generation.” You can purchase this book on Amazon.
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