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Sniffles and the Bookworm

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Sniffles and the Bookworm
Screen Shot 2013-04-14 at 21.03.41
Directed By: Charles Jones
Produced By: Leon Schlesinger
Released: December 2, 1939
Series: Merrie Melodies
Story: Rich Hogan
Animation: Bob McKimson
Layouts: John McGrew
Backgrounds: Paul Julian
Art Loomer
Film Editor: Treg Brown
Voiced By: Mel Blanc
Margaret Hill-Talbot
Cliff Nazarro
Gay Seabrook
The Sportsmen Quartet
Music: Carl W. Stalling
Starring: Sniffles
Various Book Characters
Preceded By: Porky the Giant Killer
Succeeded By: Screwball Football

Sniffles and the Bookworm is a 1939 Merrie Melodies cartoon from Warner Bros. Studios. Directed by Chuck Jones, this was the third cartoon with Sniffles the Mouse. This cartoon, however, was more in line with the "books come to life" entries from around this period.

Plot synopsis

Mother Goose characters come to life late at night in a bookshop, serenading Sniffles the Mouse, and his bookworm friend (in his first appearance) with the swing song "Mutiny in the Nursery" by Johnny Mercer and Harry Warren, until the Frankenstein monster intrudes.


The cartoon begins one snowy, late evening when Sniffles is busy napping away. A strange figure bursts into the object he was resting on and accidentally startles Sniffles away. He sees a strange arm trying to look for its glasses and upon being spotted the worm quickly hides and scurries out of the books and into another one. The worm tells someone asleep in the book about Sniffles, making the strange figure think that he saw a monster or something huge. The figure goes to look until he thinks it over for a moment and realizes that the "monster" the worm saw may be very big in comparison to himself, so he backs away and refuses to go and look.

He tells someone else, a barbarian who comes out of his own book and the two of them go to investigate. Sniffles curiously watches and follows behind the three of them until the worm spots him. He hides, accidentally running over the two men as Sniffles curiously studies them.

This makes both men angry with the worm, as they thought it was something much, much bigger. The first man then produces an instrument and begins to play it before giving a smaller one to Sniffles. They both play music together and approach a book of Nursery Rhymes. Another boy begins to sing while other books begin to dance and come to life!

Mother goose and a goose dance out of their book, other men from books sing, and even a few girls who try to encourage the worm to sing and play with them. Eventually he does and he begins to blow a horn. None of them are aware of the frankenstein monster approach. The first man who appeared serves a pie to the barbarian who cuts a piece revealing a bunch of little blackbirds, which get out and begin to dance. Sniffles sees the frankenstein monster approaching the bookworm and he yells at it to stop, causing the monster to then turn his attention to Sniffles.

Sniffles quickly backs away from the monster and then begins to run. Coming to the edge of the shelf he hides behind a book, then trips the monster, causing it to fall onto the ground.

Tired and worn out, Sniffles goes back to his napping spot and is startled away by the worm, which has come by to thank him as the cartoon ends.


The Turner "dubbed version" replaces the 1938 ending music with the 1941 ending music.


  • When Mother Goose dances out of her book, multiple books about Porky Pig can be seen behind her.
  • This is the only cartoon to have Sniffles only say one word instead of talking.


Sniffles and the Bookworm (1939) Leon Schlesinger07:47

Sniffles and the Bookworm (1939) Leon Schlesinger

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