Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Vintage kids' books I loved: Tootle, by Johan Sarrazin

Scribbler, of Vintage Kids' Books My Kid Loves, celebrated her 2nd blog anniversary recently, and invited her readers to comment on her anniversary post about their favourite vintage children's books. As she pointed out, "Every word we write on here spills into the collective Google memory, and provides one more stepping stone to help people find the long lost treasures they've been looking for."

I commented about one of my favourites, but you know once I start thinking, I don't stop halfway. I was inspired by her post to post here about what is probably my all-time favourite vintage kids' book, currently out of print. You may recall I mentioned it on my CBC "thing." It's Tootle, by Johan Sarrazin, illustrated by Aislin (yes, that Aislin - Montreal cartoonist Terry Mosher. Incidentally, a propos of nothing, his daughter, the real Aislinn, was a patron somewhere I worked. She was pretty nice, but a bit stand-offish...). So, Tootle: A shy dog agonises in advance (gee, remind you of anyone? Welcome to the inside of my head) of his mistress's house party. He likes his life just fine as it is, thank you very much. He eats things, hangs out, and chases cats (lovely shot above, at left, of Tootle on a walk, about to spring after a cat - this page made me homesick even when I still lived in Montreal).

Eventually, Tootle rallies (at right) and makes it through the party by observing legs under the table and befriending a young girl.

I have very vivid memories of my mum (hi!) reading this to me as a child. I was enthralled by the illustrations, by the idea that the dog wasn't very happy (there's a lovely image on one page of Tootle watching the rain fall outside his living room picture window), by his envy of humans' two legs, by his perspective of the party (not unlike any child's).

I once read this in an interview, which probably was not ideal since I can't quite get to the end without my voice wavering EVER.


  1. how have i never heard of tootle? the picture of him sitting on the couch is killing me dead right now. genius!

    (also, totally going to steal this post idea...although narrowing it down to one book i loved is harrrrrd.)

  2. i challenge you to find one!!! one!!!!!

    (it is hard! i just went with the one i still have on my shelves, accessible, and have the most vivid memories of... oh, and it makes me homesick)