Far, far away in the village of Lower Trainswitch, is a school for all of the baby locomotives who want to become fine flyers when they grow up. It is to this school that Tootle comes for training.
Tootle doesn’t have any trouble with the rules ‘Stopping for a Red Flag Waving’ and ‘Puffing Loudly When Starting’. But he does have trouble with one of the rules – ‘Staying on the Rails No Matter What’. It just seems so hard – especially when the beautiful fields beckon with their butterflies and pretty daisies.
Unfortunately, Tootle forms the habit of leaving the rails whenever no one else is around. How can the teachers at Engine School help him to stop this behavior?
Okay, so I pretty much love Little Golden Books. I mean, they’re just adorbs. And this particular book is written and illustrated by the same team as Scuffy, which was one of my favorite picture books as a kid. So, my heart is really taken in by this story. However.
I am troubled by the way Tootle is broken of his habit of leaving the rails and straying off into the meadows. Instead of being instructed and / or punished memorably, the townspeople use a trick, a diversion, to convince him that the rails are where he belongs. He is never brought to see that what he was doing was wrong, he just begins to do what is right for the same reason he stopped in the first place – it suits his fancy.
Conclusion. This book doesn’t have the best lessons built into it, but they could be explained by a parent.
Review © 2015 Laura Verret