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Tom Thumb: The Remarkable True Story of a Man in Miniature

3.7  ·  Rating Details ·  145 Ratings  ·  50 Reviews
When Charles S. Stratton was born in 1838, he was a large baby, perfect in every way. But then he stopped growing. At age four, though a happy and mischievous child, he was just over two feet tall and weighed only fifteen pounds—the exact same size he had been as a seven-month-old baby. It was then that the notorious showman P.T. Barnum dubbed him Tom Thumb and put him on ...more
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published April 11th 2011 by Clarion Books (first published February 28th 2011)
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Community Reviews

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Linda Lipko
Jan 12, 2014 Linda Lipko rated it really liked it
In 1842, when P.T. Barnum traveled to Bridgeport, Connecticut to visit Charles Stratton, little did he know that in hiring the five year old tiny 25 inch, 15 pound child, it would be a tremendously wealthy endeavor for both.

Talking Charles' parents into trusting him to care for the tiny imp, in his usual flair for drama, Barnum billed the five-year old American child as eleven, from Europe and gave Charles the title of General Tom Thumb.

At birth, Charles was a large baby who weighted 9 lbs, 8 oz
Jun 13, 2011 Heidi rated it it was amazing
A fascinating story about a little person, probably the most famous little person, who made a mark on the world. The book provides not only a biography of Charley but also a look at entertainment in the 19th century. Charley spent most of his life on the stage. One wonders though, what made him so successful? Was it Barnum's superb but often deceitful marketing? Was it Charley's own talents? Was it his size? Or was it a combination of all three. That would be an interesting topic for discussion. ...more
Today the world is fascinated by Brad and Angelina, but 150 years ago the public clamored for news about the "Fairy Wedding" of Tom Thumb and his tiny bride Lavinia Warren. At 35 inches tall in 1863, Tom Thumb (born Charles Stratton) was arguably the first international celebrity, drawing crowds wherever he traveled -- from California, to Australia, China, and Egypt. In this informative, interesting biography of the "man in miniature," author George Sullivan conveys the popular and social cultur ...more
Andrew Cardenas
Feb 07, 2014 Andrew Cardenas rated it liked it
This book was good. It was ok if you like bigrophys about freaky stuffy.

through out this book yuo will learn about a yong boy named Tom Thumb. When he was born he had a disiee that mad e him a darwf. His parents tok him to a docoter to see what the problem the docoter didnt know. So at the age 4 stopped growing and was going to be small forever. Then a guy named Burnum a curcus guy saw him and thought he would be perfect. They travled the world making lots of money expelly Tom he gave some of hi
Ethan Logeman
Nov 15, 2015 Ethan Logeman rated it really liked it
I actually didn't choose this book myself. I was at the library with my mother and she saw it. I din't want to read it at first, but once I got into it it was very good. I liked it because it gave me a lot of information on Tom Thumb (Charley Stratton) and his life, as well as a view on life in the 19th century. My favorite part of the book was when Tom, on his first tour, met the queen of England. She saw him and loved him instantly. He was a mere child, and he impressed the queen with acts of ...more
Jan 17, 2012 Shazzer rated it really liked it
As posted on Outside of a Dog:

I don't read many juvenile biographies, unless they come highly recommended. Luckily, such was the case with George Sullivan's Tom Thumb: The Remarkable True Story of a Man in Miniature. It was included on an ALA list of notable books to be discussed at Annual Conference and received a starred review from Booklist. Going in, I didn't know much about Tom Thumb, outside of his involvement with P.T. Barnum, but I was certainly interested to learn more. What I found fro
Nov 12, 2012 Rebecca rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, children
Charles Stratton was a large baby in 1838, but at six months he stopped growing. P.T. Barnum discovered and hired him when he was five, humbugging audiences into believing he was eleven, and set him on the road to becoming the first global superstar. Over his 43-year life, Charles, renamed General Tom Thumb, traveled around the US and the world, performing in a multitude of costumes and earning himself a vast fortune (most of which he spent later in life on yachts, horses, and houses) and a wife ...more
Victoria Whipple
What a fascinating life Tom Thumb led. From a young age it was apparent that he enjoyed being the center of attention, as well the fact that he wasn't growing at a normal rate. This book tells the story of how P. T. Barnum and Charles Stratton came to know each other and build both of their careers. Of course Barnum was interested in Tom because he was a "freak". This is what Barnum specialized in, giving people odd and strange marvels to see, for a small price. However, Barnum never treated Tom ...more
Apr 22, 2011 marymurtz rated it liked it was okay. I received an advance galley from the publisher and the formatting was nutty so it was difficult to look past that.

Having gotten that out of the way, I found the story interesting. I had no prior knowledge of this character from history, how P.T. Barnum made him famous and how he traveled the world.

The book read like a school report, with little insight into the characters, little attempt by the author to inject any humanity into any of the subjects. It appears this author h
Jacque Stengel
Charles S. Stratton was dubbed Tom Thumb by P.T. Barnum at the age of five and that name stuck with him the rest of his life. This is a biography of Charles Stratton and to some extent that of P.T. Barnum as well. Their two lives became entertwined as Charles became more famous than anyone of the time could have realized. Many people believe he was exploited because of his diminutive size and others say that P.T. Barnum gave him something that he wouldn't have had otherwise, and Mr. Sullivan sho ...more
Very informative for a person who knew next to nothing about Tom Thumb/Charles Stratton. In fact, I think aside from his name, I knew nothing until I read the children's bio about P.T. Barnum a few months ago. I liked that I read this so soon after that, because I was very familiar with Barnum's life and character--and he played a very big role in Charles' life. Plenty of things I didn't know, so the book kept my interest as I read. I don't think it was as well written as Candace Fleming and Rus ...more
Oct 06, 2013 Suzanne rated it really liked it
Tom Thumb was the character from a fairy tale, right? Wrong. In this book Tom Thumb: The Remarkable True Story of a Man in Miniature by George Sullivan, Tom Thumb is a real person.
Charles S. Stratton Was born January 4th 1838 in Connecticut. He was a large baby weighing in a eight pounds. But it was not long before his parents discovered that thought he was perfectly formed in every way, he was not going to grow "normal" size, and doctors could not explain why. Charley as he was called was oft
Katie Bruce
Aug 20, 2011 Katie Bruce rated it really liked it
Decided to pick this up as background reading for "The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb," a new adult fiction book which I am currently on hold for (why did my library only buy one copy? why??). Anyways, nothing like a nice children's nonfiction book while you wait, right? This really was an excellent overview of a man whom I knew very little about (ooo, no pun intended there, seriously. That was bad.) He really did begin the celebrity culture in America. I was this book would have touched on a b ...more
Melissa Roach
Mar 25, 2011 Melissa Roach rated it it was amazing
When Charles S. Stratton was born in 1838, he was a large baby, perfect in every way. But then he stopped growing. At age four, though a happy and mischievous child, he was just over two feet tall and weighed only fifteen pounds—the exact same size he had been as a seven-month-old baby. It was then that the notorious showman P.T. Barnum dubbed him Tom Thumb and put him on display, touring him around the world as a curiosity.

A natural performer, Charley became enormously popular and
Julie Smith (Knitting and Sundries)
This review first appeared on my blog:

Here's what I knew of Tom Thumb prior to reading this book: He was a midget who worked for P. T. Barnum.

What I know now: Tom Thumb was a superstar of his time - the nation's first celebrity. He owned a yacht, a stable of horses and carriages, and a magnificent home. He enjoyed rich food and expensive cigars.

He was born in 1838 in Bridgeport, CT, a healthy-sized baby of nine pounds.

When P. T. was introduced to Charles
Cynthia Housianitis
Dec 06, 2013 Cynthia Housianitis rated it liked it
Shelves: libs-642

Junior Book Project
Category: Informational #3
Source: Kimmel

Sullivan, George. Tom Thumb: The Remarkable True Story of a Man in Miniature. New York: Clarion Books, 2011.

Young Charley Stratton is unique in every way imaginable. He is playful, impish, and enjoys the company and attention of adults, but he is only three feet tall. After a chance meeting with P.T. Barnum, young Charley is whisked into the world of show business donning the name Tom Thumb. Although his worldwide fame brings him the adu
May 11, 2014 Erin rated it liked it
I found this book in the juvenile biography section of my Public Library. My daughter needed to read and biography and I thought she would like it. She was not interested, but I was fascinated. I had no idea about the story of Charles Stratton, Tom Thumb, but I was drawn in from the very beginning of the book and it was hard to put it down.
Jul 18, 2011 Karen rated it it was amazing
charlie sutton alias general tom thumb lived what can only be described as a fairy tale life. beginning with his being hired by p.t.barnum to perform in his american museum at the age of 5 (although billed as age 11) he traveled around the world, spoke three languages, played the piano, acted and sang, as well as lectured about his experiences the the remainer of his life. even his marrige to livinia warren was the thing fairy tales are made of. i remember hearing stories of tom thumb as a child ...more
Dec 20, 2011 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing
A truly spectacular and fascinating look at the life of Tom Thumb, one of the first very famous "little people," who made his debut in show business at P.T. Barnum's American Museum at age 5, twenty-five inches tall and weighing fifteen pounds. From then until his death at age 45, he was not just a sideshow freak but a true showman and entertainer, a crowd favorite of worldwide audiences. Lots of pictures and good, solidly researched information. Excellent choice for reluctant readers, report wr ...more
Abbi Fister
Jun 20, 2015 Abbi Fister rated it really liked it
An interesting read.
Jun 23, 2012 Anne rated it really liked it
An engaging book about the a dwarf who was discovered by P.T. Barnum before he was five and became quite a great performer. It is said that he was the first celebrity. He enjoyed performing, and became quite wealthy. Barnum had him travel to England and France, where he performed before royalty. He married and continued to travel and perform with his wife.

I had no idea what an interesting life he had.
Feb 10, 2012 Erica rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 17, 2011 Magpie67 rated it really liked it
My daughter picked out the title and my curosity got the better of me and I read it in one morning. Interesting information how he (Tom Thumb) was taken from his family at the age of 5 and exploited as an older boy for the PT Barnum shows. Who is also an interesting man and his many side show freaks he obtained in the day. History during the Civil War and abroad.... very interesting.
Feb 23, 2011 Laura rated it really liked it
Shelves: youth-nonfiction
Charles Sherwood Stratton is better known as General Tom Thumb. This wonderful biography relates the story of how went from being a simple small-town 5-year-old boy to a world-wide sensation. Filled with photographs, this biography makes an excellent companion to the book The Great and Only Barnum by Candace Fleming for anyone interested in the history of American "humbuggery".
Cathe Olson
Feb 13, 2011 Cathe Olson rated it really liked it
This biography of Tom Thumb (Charles Stratton) was well-written and interesting. The book also includes information about P.T. Barnum, as it was the collaboration of Barnum and Stratton that made them both rich and famous--at least for a while. While this isn't the most exciting book out there, those interested in this subject will be satisfied. Recommended for fifth grade and up.
Oct 23, 2011 Joanna rated it liked it
I thought having read Candace Fleming's Barnum biography 2 years ago was a good start as I was already familiar with Tom and Barnum's relationship. (which is a large part of this book) I was very surprised that Fleming's book was not listed in the suggested reading list. It's another youth nonfiction I was surprised. (2012 APL Mock Newbery)
Mary S.
Feb 16, 2012 Mary S. rated it really liked it
Enjoyed reading and sharing with students this biography of Charles Stratton. They knew very little of the history of this fellow, nor his accomplishments. Interesting to share with students of this generation who see many entertainers but know little of their lives, background, and the history of the period.
May 19, 2011 Judith rated it really liked it
3.5 An overall enjoyable and informative book about the life of Tom Thumb. I am sure there are some more sinister dealings but since the this biography is geared towards children, those would not be appropiate. I think the author did a very nice job of describing the life and times of Tom Thumb.
Erin mcgill
Jun 01, 2012 Erin mcgill rated it it was ok
Audience: This book is appropriate for students 4th through eighth grade because of its advanced vocabulary and its biography and history of a real person.
Appeal: This book is appealing for students becuase it portrays the life of a dwarf and his triumphs and struggles.
Mar 29, 2012 Jacqueline rated it really liked it
An interesting peek at a remarkable life. I did feel the tone of the book was a bit too dry for children's non fiction, and the book became a little bit too much about Tom's wife and less about Tom towards the end, which took me out of the story a little bit.
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George Sullivan is a best-selling nonfiction author with more than 100 books to his credit. He lives in New York City.
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