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Literature / Choo Choo (1937)

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The story of a little engine who ran away.

Choo Choo is a very young kid's book by Virginia Lee Burton.

Choo Choo is a steam locomotive who, every day, pulls a line of coaches from one station through the country, to the big station of the big city. She has an engineer named Jim, and a fireman named Oley. And each day, the conductor of her trains, Archibald, makes sure she's always on time.

One day, Choo Choo decides she's had enough of the same old routine day after day, and decides that she's going to drive herself for once. Maybe then people would look at her and say "What a smart little engine! What a fast little engine! What a beautiful little engine! Just watch her go by herself!". Doesn't go quite as smoothly as planned...

The book was published in 1937.

Choo Choo contains examples of:

  • An Aesop: Sometimes the things you want to do may lead to consequences.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: After getting tired of doing the same routine over and over, Choo-Choo decided to run away to do more than passenger runs. Things got really complicated after losing her tender.
  • Dedication: The book starts with a message saying "To my son, Aris".
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The book is illustrated with black and white charcoal drawings.
  • Happy Dance: Archibald, Jim, and Oley do one when Choo Choo is brought home.
  • Just Train Wrong: After running into some creepy old woods, Choo Choo slows down and stops like a car running out of gas, only having enough steam to let out a weak "toot" when she's found. By then she had lost her tender after jumping a drawbridge. In reality, Choo Choo's boiler would have exploded when she started to run out of water.
  • Losing a Shoe in the Struggle: Or tender in this case. As Choo-Choo approached the drawbridge, she managed to jump over it, but her tender fell into a barge in the process.
  • Once Upon a Time: There was a little engine. Her name was CHOO CHOO. She was a beautiful little engine. All black and shiny.
  • Protagonist Title: Choo Choo is the name of the locomotive.
  • Ramp Jump: When Choo Choo comes to the drawbridge, it's raised to let a boat through. She jumps it, and just makes it. Though she lost her tender in the process.
  • Sentient Vehicle: Choo Choo the locomotive.