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Choo Choo

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  703 ratings  ·  57 reviews
The adventures of a beautiful little locomotive who decided to run away from her humdrum duties.
Paperback, 48 pages
Published April 25th 1988 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published November 30th 1936)
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Average rating 3.91  · 
Rating details
 ·  703 ratings  ·  57 reviews

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Jun 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens
Looking for books on trains for my 2-yr-old twins, I was pleasantly surprised to find this written by Burton, the author of one of my favorite childhood books, Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel. The same beautiful illustrations and detailed story line as the Steam Shovel, Choo Choo instead talks about a steam engine and his daily woes. A book my 5-yr-old got into as well, we loved this one as a family.
Oct 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First sentence: Once upon a time there was a little engine. Her name was CHOO CHOO. She was a beautiful little engine. All black and shiny.

Premise/plot: Choo Choo was originally published in 1937. The original illustrations by Virginia Lee Burton have been colorized by Lauren Pettapiece. Choo Choo is the story of a little engine who is a bit naughty. What does she do that is naughty? She decides one day that she does NOT want to pull cars anymore--she wants to run free and go where she wants. Th
Feb 12, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: childrens-books
My children have enjoyed the books of Virginia Lee Burton nearly as much as I did when a young boy. This particular book is not nearly as well-known as Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel or Katy, but it still has the same appeal as the other books.

This particular book deals with a train that wants to be a little more than it is -- it wants to go faster and easier -- by itself, without pulling any coaches. It takes off at the first opportunity and is chased by its engineer all the way to a dead
Robert Davis

Classic story about a train engine named, (what else?) 'Choo-Choo' who is fed up with lugging passengers and freight around and wants to set off on her own to show everyone just how fast and splendid she really is. Of course, chaos ensues (as well as confusion and delay)

This was Virginia Lee Burton's first book, who wrote it for her son when he was four after they had visited the train station. The artwork is very dated (AND SHOULD NEVER BE UPDTATED!) It is splendid just the way it is, although
Shanna Gonzalez
Aug 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-04-08
Virginia Lee Burton, who brought us Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, brings us a cautionary tale about a little engine who runs away from her job of pulling coaches. Instead, she escapes and sets off on a solo spree across the country, stopping only when she loses her tender and runs out of fuel and water on an abandoned track. Her owners retrieve her from her exhausted solitude, and she decides that since running away "isn't much fun," she will return to her job.

The story is exceptionally we
Nov 06, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
Shelves: childrens, 2011
We found a Netflix treat: we just watched Shelley Duvall's Bedtime Stories, which features animated adaptations of children's storybooks with celebrity narrators. This story was narrated by Bonnie Raitt and we just loved the format. It reminded us of the Tumblebooks animations that we occasionally watch online. As the book is narrated, we followed along with a slightly animated version of the illustrations. It was very entertaining and we really enjoyed watching all of the episodes on the DVD.

Jan 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Yet another superior picture/story book by the American master Virginia Lee Burton - even the drawing of her son on the dedication page is lovely. A little engine that longs to break free and explore. When the chance arrives things get a little out of control. Luckily Choo Choo has lots of friends and in the end comes to appreciate things just as they've always been. The black and white art work is evocative and illustrate the action perfectly. I'd place this one alongside the best of Burton's b ...more
Margaret Chind
Dec 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Margaret by: Memoria Press First Grade
Read a Kindle version through the library READS system. Almost great throughout for a Kindle translation of a picture book except for one page. I'm glad we have a physical copy.

Read physical copy for MP 1st enrichment.
Feb 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: preschoolers
Shelves: younger-kids
This was my son's absolutely favorite book when he was around three years old. A true classic!

I have read at least two books from Virginia Lee Burton when I was younger and they were “The Little House” and “Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel” and I had enjoyed both books immensely! So, I then picked up another book by Virginia Lee Burton called “Choo Choo” which was quite a unique read and is one that I would definitely recommend for children!

The story is about a beautiful little locomotive named Choo Choo who would pull trains from the city to the country and back again every day. She w
Choo Choo: The Story of a Little Engine Who Ran Away. Did everyone have a miniature train set when they were growing up? Somehow, this story manages to animate that lost world of the tiny coal-fed locomotive, train station, crossings, the whistle and the bell, the track meandering through the countryside past the cows, horses, and pigs. What a naughty locomotive, so shiny and vain--she wants everyone to notice her, and notice her they will, when she runs away without her load. Traveling way too ...more
Feb 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This reprint of Burton’s first published book is still entertaining for a whole new generation of readers. Choo-Choo, a small coal engine, gets tired of her routine and takes a fast paced joyride through the countryside and city until she ends up stranded in the forest on an abandoned track. Her faithful caretakers rescue her and she happily gets back to work. Burton’s hand is heavy with the charcoal – an appropriate touch in a book about a coal engine, and time has lent a nostalgic air to the o ...more
This book is definitely of its time, meant for when most kids had much longer attention spans (maybe because there were less options in the way of tv screens & monitors?) so it's definitely on the longish side for its intended age group. However, my test subject loves trains so much that it was still a hit with him at 2 1/2. The new anniversary edition is just lovely, too - I don't know why illustrations were so commonly printed in black-&-white, but seeing them freshly colorized really gave the ...more
Chelsey McNeil
As the mom of a 2-year-old boy who loves trains, trucks, and all the other Virginia Lee Burton books, I finally found this one and we read it today for the first time.

I was somewhat non-plussed, but we liked it. The illustrations (recently colorized for the new edition), were a little too dark and sketchy, so the clarity and detail that characterizes VLB's later books is lacking.

The story is about a little train who decides to run away.
Dec 04, 2018 rated it liked it
I like this book because she runs away, but running way you don't do if you're a person. And they should've said "report!" like my papa always says when he can't see me, when I don't run away (something like that). And sometimes when I don't see papa I say "REPORT!"

Virginia Lee Burton also wrote The Little House, which we've never read.
January 2018 - charmingly old-fashioned (although a bit disappointing that poor Choo Choo doesn't end up enjoying her day off) - immediate hit with Ben. A bit on the longer side, but good for a read-aloud.
Jul 07, 2018 rated it liked it
After reading (at least 15 times) a very well done biography about Virginia Lee Burton with kids as the target audience, my son is obsessed with the author/illustrator's books. We'd read about Mike Mulligan and Katy, but had choo choo and a few others to read.
Aug 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
These charcoal illustrations are very dynamic. It's a longer story, but with all of the onomatopoeia involved, this would definitely be a fun one to read out loud.
Edward Sullivan
Originally published in 1937, this new edition features color illustrations.
Apr 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
We love Virginia Lee Burton, and this book is one of our favorites! A classic story about running away and finding it's not all it's cracked up to be.
Lynn  Davidson
May 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
A little train engine tires of pulling a coach full of people and baggage from the little town to the big city, so she runs away. Big trouble!
Esther May
Sep 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is cute book especially for my 4 year old who is really into trains.
Diana Pettis
Nov 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Did not disappoint me at all. Loved it.
Mar 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
Wonderful illustrations. What a naughty train.
George Hammerbacher iii
Mar 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very good audio download. My son loves this book.
Vincent Stewart
Feb 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Fun story, good moral lesson. Captivated two out four of my boy's attention during storytime.
Alicia Evans
For: train fans; readers looking for a book with classically cartoony illustrations.

Possible red flags: running away and causing havoc.
Jackie B. - Death by Tsundoku

I read this book as part of my journey to read all of Virginia Lee Burton's complete works. There are recurring themes throughout her books regarding the personalities, ambitions, and "adventures" of vehicles. This theme is particularly interesting to me since I've grown up in a world where the inanimate can be animate. Cars, The Little Engine That Could and Beauty and the Beast are just the tip of that iceberg. But, Burton's books are different.

I like Choo Choo for it telling a story w
J. Boo
Mar 08, 2016 rated it liked it
Choo Choo is tired of her humdrum life as a commuter train and decides to run away, pursued by her engineer and the rest of her staff.

It's a decent read - and the art is nice - but it isn't as deft or emotionally compelling as her other works. 4DS/2DD were OK with it but haven't been pursuing me with demands for a re-read the way they did with Burton's more popular trio (Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel/The Little House/Katie and the Big Snow). I'm sure someone train-obsessed would appreciate
Jan 02, 2010 rated it liked it
I absolutely love the cover design on this one. I like the style of the illustrations. I also like the way the text is set in different shapes. I did not like the train's name being in all caps all the time. CHOO CHOO gets pretty annoying if only for that. I also wasn't a huge fan of the story itself—it's well enough done, I just didn't like it. It reminds me a lot of Tootle, which I don't love either. ...more
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Virginia Lee Burton was an American illustrator and children's book author. Burton produced seven self-illustrated children's books. She married Boston Museum school sculptor, George Demetrios, with whom she had two sons and lived in Folly Cove, Gloucester. She died at 59.

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