Charlie the Tramp (Book Review)

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“Charlie the Tramp” by Russell Hoban is a classic children’s book that was written back in 1966. I am honored to share my review of this book as it celebrates 50 years!

My grandchildren, like most children, love it when their parents, grandparents or any able reader reads them a story. They sit by quietly and listen to the story as the reader shares pictures and sometimes even funny little voices with them. They have enjoyed, and I can remember reading them other stories by Russell Hoban like “A Baby Sister for Frances” and “Bread and Jam for Frances”. Like those stories, “Charlie the Tramp” brings little critters to life as they jump off the pages into the imagination of the listening children.


Russell Hoban (1925-2011) first became famous for his children’s picture books about a badger named Frances and other animal characters that have a lot in common with children we know – Bedtime for Frances, A Baby Sister for Frances, Bread and Jam for Frances, and Emmit Otter’s Jug-band Christmas. You will love the great drawn renditions of the Beaver family that were illustrated by Lillian Hoban whom also happens to be Russell’s beloved wife.


“Charlie the Tramp”, a classic children’s book, celebrates 50 years in 2016 and won the Boys Club of America Junior Book Award in 1968. To celebrate the 50 years you can enjoy an all new special 50th anniversary hardcover edition.

charlie-the-tramp-what-is-a-trampThe book follows a little boy beaver named Charlie and his family as Charlie announces that he wants to be a tramp. He is determined to not have to “… learn how to chop down trees and how to roll logs and how to build dams.” Because “Tramps just tramp around and have a good time. Tramps 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.” As the story goes, he learns much more about being a beaver than he thought he would and that being a tramp might not be exactly what he imagined.


Once Charlie decided that he was going to be a “tramp” he had the support of his family as well as some great advice and training that he didn’t even know would be needed in his new life. He was well trained by his parents for the things that were to come as he grew older. For example, he was taught to brush his teeth to keep them sharp. They made him practice swimming and holding his breath under water. And they taught him that it was important to keep his fur oiled so that it would be waterproof. Even when Charlie thought it was all about being a tramp, he eventually came back to what he knew best and that was being a beaver. He learned how to chop wood and how to make a dam in the running water so that he could have a pond. All of these concepts were taught to him by his parents so that when it was time, he could use these skills for his own good. I really liked how we saw the Biblical concept of training a child in the way he “should go” and then when he was older he did not depart from it.


Charlie was just a little boy beaver but he wanted to venture out into the world and do his own thing. This happens in the life of every child and as children grow older, we as parents should be as supportive as possible. Though it does not say in the pages of the book, you get the impression that his parents must have felt that Charlie was ready to go out into the world (though they were apprehensive as should be expected). Perhaps they trusted that they had done their job as parents correctly and trained Charlie to be a survivor in the real world. They let him go and waited patiently for him to return. After all even tramps get hungry, right?


charlie-the-tramp-momma-readsWhat a pleasure it was to listen to my daughter read “Charlie the Tramp” to her daughters not long ago. I recorded a little bit of that reading, you can listen to it below:



This is a fun little book that I think most children will enjoy. Not only is it a great book to read to the children, it is also a great book to use as a script for a little acting out. The four characters in the book: Grandfather Beaver, Father, Mother and Charlie have lots of dialog that would fit well into a skit. In addition to this, the book is written well to be used as something for a young new reader to enjoy.

The book is available everywhere or you can click on the link below order it from Amazon:

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for the opportunity to review this book. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post though the contents of this review are my real and true opinions. (click on link to read CED full Disclosure & Privacy Policy). This post contains affilliate links.
Photo credit for Mr. Hoban
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Pamela Rose Williams

Pamela Rose Williams is a wife, mother, and grandmother. She and her husband, Dr. Michael L. Williams, have served in Christian ministry since 2001. She has a bachelor's Degree in Christian Education and spends most of her time as a professional editor and writer, working with many Christian authors and artists. Additionally, she works with her husband using their extensive experience in information technology to provide Christ-centered teaching and resources to people all over the world. To learn more about Pamela visit her About page.