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Tugboat Bill and the River Rescue
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Tugboat Bill and the River Rescue

3.11  ·  Rating details ·  158 ratings  ·  37 reviews
Fans of Little Tug and Chugga-Chugga Choo-Choo will love this lyrical, heartwarming story by Calista Brill, brought to life by Tad Carpenter’s bright and lively illustrations. Perfect for readers who can’t get enough of things that GO!

Bill is a tugboat. Mabel is a barge. Together they go up and down the choppy river.

The other ships are big and vain. They tease Bill and Mab
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published February 21st 2017 by HarperCollins
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Average rating 3.11  · 
Rating details
 ·  158 ratings  ·  37 reviews

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May 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Young Children Who Enjoy Stories About Anthropomorphized Vehicles
Tugboat Bill and Mabel the Barge are companions and friends, plying their trade on the mighty Hudson River, and doing their best to ignore the snide comments of the larger and more stylish ships, who call Mabel names. When a little kitten falls into the water, those larger ships refuse to help so scruffy a creature, but Mabel comes to the rescue, winning praise for her heroism. Then the larger ships feel rather envious...

This second picture-book from Calista Brill - the first was Little Wing
First Second Books
Every picture book should rhyme with its author! This a delight, with a fun Golden Book feel to the art, and a must in the bedtime reading diet of any five year old who loves tugboats—meaning pretty much every five year old.
Sep 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Bill is a tug boat. Mabel is a barge. Together they chug up and down the Hudson River. Newer, larger ships bully Mabel with hurtful words. Until Mabel saves a drowning kitten. The tug boat helped too. Mabel becomes a hero and the story is written up in the newspaper. The ships are sorry they didn't help the kitten.

The illustrations have a retro, Golden Book feel to them. They are vivid and stand out on the pages. The text is rhythmic with rhyming words, until it gets into the heart of the story
Dec 20, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Love the retro illustrations!

The story could be pared down to perfection with a stronger editorial hand, but is just a little wordy for the predictable, triumphant story of defeating bullies with hand and heart. Kids may disagree and find the "extra" text just enough to draw out the action. Test it on a 5 year old. They know best!

May 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
TUGBOAT BILL teaches about the topic of bullying and how you can be great no matter what others say.

Tugboat Bill works with his friend Mable who is an old barge. She's rusty, old, and leaks, but that doesn't mean she's useless. Instead, she's as hard of a worker as Bill, but the other ships don't see it that way. They call Mable names and she pretends to look the other way, but it still affects her and hurts her feelings under the surface. They think they're better because they're newer.

When a c
Mark Siegel
Feb 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Lovely classic Golden Book feel for a perennial bedtime read!
Lisa D
Mar 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Loved it! Unique book!!
Edward Sullivan
Feb 23, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: picture-books
Cheerful retro illustrations but not much of a story.
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
Brill, Calista Tugboat Bill and the River Rescue, illustrated by Tad Carpenter. PICTURE BOOK. HarperCollins, 2017. $17.99. Content: G.

Tugboat Bill and his friend Marge the Barge work on the Hudson River. Many of the faster, sleeker, newer boats make fun of them, but Bill and Marge refuse to let the taunting turn them mean. Then one day they have a chance to do a good deed, and the results make the previously-condescending boats jealous. Apparently, being nice pays off.

The colorful illustrations
Jul 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya-kid-lit
Bill the tugboat and Mabel the barge are friends on the Hudson River. The fancier and bigger ships actually insult Mabel, calling her "silly stupid and (gasp!) boring." Even though Mabel and Bill pretend not to hear it, they do. But when Mabel saves a kitten who falls into the river and becomes a hero featured in the newspaper, suddenly those vain ships are wishing they were more like that lowly barge.

This story offers a lesson on appreciating others and about how helping others is a good thing
Stephanie Bange
Feb 23, 2019 rated it liked it
Tugboat Bill and Mabel the Barge are friends who work together to haul cargo on the river. They find themselves belittled by the big boats and ships that cruise up and down the Hudson River, until one day the pair make headlines in the news by rescuing a small cat who falls into the river.

The story is simple and sweet, though a bit harshly told. The big ships are made into bullies, feeling sorry for themselves by the end of the tale. There is no remorse or apologies for their behavior, only a pi
The Library Lady
Aug 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Like the Hudson River (my own beloved river), the prose here is "sometimes smooth, and sometimes choppy." There seem to be some attempts at rhyming sets of adjectives (and some are more successful than others), in other places there's no attempt at a rhyme. That could make this hard to read. However, the plot, akin to classics like Little Toot, is charming (extra points for the kitten), and the anthropomorphized boats will entrance. I'd give this a 3.5 to 3.75 if I could, but will bump it up to ...more
May 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books, boats
I was nervous, because my friend wrote this and I can be pretty picky about picture books, and I want to like the things but friends do. But I really genuinely liked it! The story itself is nothing new but the presentation is unusual--a little jazzy, a little free-versey, maybe. There's an offbeat rhythm to the words that is refreshing given the sing-songyness of many picture books. It rhymes, sort of, but it's not a rhyming book nor is it trying to be. There are also a lot of good vocabulary wo ...more
Kirsten Vega
Aug 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
The writing here is so well done: unforced, poetic, and original. Great book for stretching vocabulary and encouraging wordplay - humming/sleepy/sour/dented/heapy. Comic timing is in supply, the sleeping capitan in particular got laughs from my preschool audience, who stayed focused through the story. I won't be annoyed if I have to read this twenty times a week. ...more
Jul 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Tugboat Bill and his friend rescue a kitten from the river after the big ships are content to let it drown. The text is simple and fun, plus there's a great message! Bright, primary colors drew Berry in and kept her attention. ...more
Feb 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books, humor
You don't often see too many books about Tugboats, and this one is a good addition to any collection. Bullying is a huge topic, and the writing style in it would make this a great read-aloud for a toddler storytime about transportation. ...more
Cute for kids who like boats.
A festival of adjectives and primary colors! Now I will get in my black, shiny, comfy, ordinary-looking rental car and go buy lunch.
This book is not overly-complicated. The simple story is of a tugboat and a barge who are friends. They are looked down upon by other, fancier boats. The illustrations are bold and simple.
Jan 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
My kids loved this. great colors and easy story, but cute.
Mar 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nathan-read
Nathan likes boats, so this one was cute. His favorite part was where the tugboat and barge helped the kitty cat.
Jul 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: addyvi
I like this book because once they saved the cat. Tugboat Bill helped but Mabel did the real rescuing.
Jul 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I read this book to my son and he liked it. Colorful, fun and with teachable moments, I loved this book. I can see this becoming one of the books that I re-read to him a lot.
Dec 30, 2020 rated it it was ok
story was lacking
Mar 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Tugboat Bill and his friend rescue a kitten.
Robin Raines-Bond
Mar 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Bright primary colored illustrations. Cute story about a Tugboat and his friends who are kind when the bigger boats are not.
Mar 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: picture-books
I liked the illustrations but the story was too long and forgettable.
Mar 15, 2017 rated it liked it
3.75 stars A well written story about a barge...and the don't have to be pretty, fast, or awake (tee hee) to do good in the world! ...more
Alyson (Kid Lit Frenzy)
Loved the retro illustrations and saving a kitten always gets a star.
Kristina Jean Lareau
Bright, bold primary colors, clean lines and obvious anthropomorphized faces make this picturebook appealing--especially to those vehicle-loving toddlers. The narrative is full of opposites and rhymes which gives it a good rhythm, but the story itself is heavy-handed and underdeveloped.
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