The Little Red Caboose is a Little Golden Book by Marian Potter, illustrated by Tibor Gergely.
The Little Red Caboose is part of a train that has an engine, boxcars, oil cars, coal cars, and flat cars. But the Little Red Caboose always came last.
He was not so happy about this, because the engine and the boxcars and the oil cars and coal cars and flat cars got all the attention and all the waves from the boys and girls. By the time the Little Red Caboose came along, no one was interested anymore.
But one day the train goes up a mountain and gets stuck. It starts to slide down. The Little Red Caboose puts on his brakes and it buys the train enough time for two more engines to come along and push the train up the hill. So the Little Red Caboose saved the day.
There's a lot going on in the pictures. Which is good, because the text can be a little dull for the adult readers. The train passes all sorts of things in the pictures that aren't mentioned in the text. Such as a circus, mountain climbers, boats, and even an Indian village complete with teepees. (I'd be interested to know if later versions have this village.)
Well, a little dull for me, but I can see how a child interested in trains would really enjoy it. It teaches a good lesson, I suppose. Even if you're last, sometimes you can do very important things. Or something.
To liven things up while reading, you can point out things in the pictures and talk about them. There's many different animals that show up on various pages, for instance. Even raccoons and some sort of weasel.
I'm not so keen on the two page ad for Disney books at the back of this book, but I assume that's a quirk of this particular edition.
You could do worse, and it's a change from Thomas the Tank Engine and the Little Engine That Could, right? Why should the engines get all the glory?
Copyright date is 1953, with this edition being 1979. 69 cents, if anyone's keeping score.
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