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Choo Choo: The Story of a Little Engine Who Ran Away    by Virginia Lee Burton order for
Choo Choo
by Virginia Lee Burton
Order:  USA  Can
Houghton Mifflin, 1988 (1937)
Softcover, Audio
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

'Once upon a time there was a little engine ...' Choo Choo has a whistle, bell and brake. They all make very satisfying noises that kids can emulate. She also has people who care for her - Jim the engineer, Oley the fireman and Archibald the conductor. Her job is to pull coaches from the 'little station in the little town to the big station in the big city and back again.'

But one day she imagines what it would be like to travel without the coaches, and to be admired all on her own. Impulsively she runs away, 'Choo chooo CHOO choo! Choo chooo CHOO choo!', creating chaos and frightening everything in her path. She scares herself as well, especially when she ends up lost down an old, old track ... 'a a a AH CHOO!' But of course Jim, Oley and Archibald follow. They dance a jig after they find their sad and tired little engine.

Choo Choo is a charming tale, whose black and white illustrations have great appeal to train-mad kids like my sons used to be. It speaks to the rebellious aspect of all little ones, who can safely act out such impulses along with the little engine, enjoy the havoc she causes, and be relieved when she is safely home again.

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