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Choo Choo Paperback – April 25, 1988
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Top Customer Reviews
You can't find these in bookstores! They're the best.
I suppose what grates on me, after dozens of readings of this book, is the core lesson that it is better to keep your head down and do your assigned job rather than pursue your dreams. This lesson is reinforced at the end of the book, when Choo Choo happily announces that [SPOILERS follow] she will never run away again and will go back to hauling passengers and mail like she is supposed to. If you look at the entire story arc, Choo Choo vainly dreams of seeing the big city and becoming famous, and runs away to pursue this dream. She runs into trouble when she is overwhelmed by the bigness of the city, then gets lost in the wilderness and literally runs out of steam, where she sits forlorn and is only rescued by the engineer and helpers that she ran away from in the beginning. In other words, in the course of the book Choo Choo did not solve a single problem or overcome any obstacles. She tried to achieve something, failed, was "saved" by her operators, and happily agreed that it would be better to never have tried in the first place.
Maybe I'm reading too much into it. It's a short kids' story, and whatever you think of it, this can easily be a teachable moment with your kids one way or the other. It's a quaint reflection of an earlier time when duty and obedience were frequently thought to be one and the same.
But this lesson, reinforced over dozens of readings, continues to give me pause, and I just wanted to flag this for other parents. I've still given it a 5 star rating because, at the end of the day, it's a fun book about trains, with wonderful illustrations, that continues to bring my son joy.
The story is exceptionally well written, with a dramatic pacing that builds to an exciting climax as Choo Choo tears across the countryside. Highly auditory pre-readers will especially enjoy the repetition and sound effects that punctuate the story, giving it a rhythm and sense of excitement. Those who are more visually oriented may be less attracted to it: it is illustrated in old-fashioned black-and-white charcoal, and while some readers may be unimpressed by the lack of "flash" in the artwork, others may be troubled by Choo-Choo's darkly sinister resting place in the woods. Still, even without color, the pictures are full of movement and life. The story is action-packed, and carries the simple message that those who try to escape their responsibilities may find that their "freedom" isn't all they imagined it to be.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A must have for children of all ages. As enjoyable to the adult to read as it is to the child.Published 3 months ago by Kenneth Scheman
The runaway engine is female and gets punished for wanting to see the world and have an adventure. Back to the daily grind for us women! Read morePublished 5 months ago by Christa Sammons
Loved giving this classic to my great-nephew who loves choo-choo trains!Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
Classic book, was my son's favorite 20 years ago. So I was happy to find this. Great condition.Published 10 months ago by ksplanet
Our 6 yr old son LOVES this book. He wants us to read it to him over and over again. The pictures are beautiful. And he loves trains.Published 15 months ago by Chickadee