Charlie the Tramp by Russell Hoban Book Review

After 50 years, the children’s book Charlie the Tramp is being introduced to a new generation. I remember this precious little book being on the book table in my kindergarten class. It was my favorite and I enjoyed learning to read to Charlie the Tramp. I was able to pass my love for Charlie on to my son when he was little. As parents, we do all we can to teach our children to be productive adults. Sometimes, we have to allow our children to pursue their dreams so they will show just how responsible they can be, just like with Charlie.

Charlie the Tramp by Russell Hoban Book Review
this post contains affiliate links

Charlie the Tramp Book Review

The new updated cover while a little different from the original paperback cover I read as a little girl gives a look of simplicity from my childhood. When I first sat down with the book, I couldn't help but feel like a little girl again seeing the images Lillian Hoban had lovingly created for this book. As I read the words I was taken back to my childhood in my kindergarten class learning to read the sweet story about Charlie wanting to grow up and be a tramp.

If you are one who believes in being politically correct, this book is not for you. But, if you still believe in the way things "used to be" in the home and haven't read this book, you need to. Sharing our past (and present for many) with our future generations is a must. The cute story about Charlie is a great reminder of how things used to be.

Charlie the Beaver wants to be a tramp when he grows up. “Tramps don’t have to learn how to chop down trees and how to roll logs and how to build dams. 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.” Charlie sets off with his bundle. But when he hears water trickling, he can’t get to sleep. Will he be able to resist the urge to make it stop? As Grandfather Beaver says, “You never know when a tramp will turn out to be a beaver.”

“An especially memorable character study of a runaway beaver...unique, humorous, precise of speech...How touching the moment when Charlie’s father looks at his truant one’s first serious nighttime labor and says, ‘Any tramp that can make a pond like that is going to be some beaver one of these days.’” – The Atlantic Monthly, August 1976

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.

Lillian Hoban (1925-1998), one of America’s favorite children’s book illustrators, is best known for a young chimpanzee named Arthur and his little sister, Violet. She also illustrated six of Russell Hoban’s books about Frances the badger, which have taken their place among the great classics of children’s literature. Lillian Hoban was born in Philadelphia and attended the Philadelphia Museum School of Art. She studied dance for ten years and became a professional dancer. She began to write and illustrate her own stories only after having children, basing her tales on their experiences.

Pages: 48
Book Size: 7 x 8.75
Age:  3-8 years

You can purchase your own copy from Christian Book.

I  received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for my honest opinion. I was not required to give a good review.

867803: Charlie the Tramp Charlie the Tramp

By Russell Hoban / Plough Publishing House


  1. This would be a fun book for any child to read or listen to while someone reads. I loved reading about it.Thanks Lori,for Frogs Lilypad .

  2. I don't think I've ever heard of this book before. It does remind me of my childhood though...a tramp was an easy costume when you didn't have much! All you needed was a stick, a handkerchief, and some old clothes. I'm sure most kids these days have never heard of a tramp or a hobo! Looks like a cute story.

  3. I'm glad you enjoyed the review.

  4. Deborah, it is a very cute book. I was a tramp one year for Halloween. When my son was little I dressed him up as one to visit his grandparents.


COMMENTS ARE MODERATED - Comments with links are deleted. Spam comments are tagged as spam and deleted.