I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but Tootle, far from being a cute children’s book about a curious baby train, is actually virulent fascist propaganda.
Now, my 3-year-olds are a little obsessed with it, and that’s fine.
It’s pretty amazing that they’ll sit through such a relatively lengthy
book right before bed. The content, though? Well, it’s really
problematic, but if my husband and I were to try reading a different
book while surreptitiously dropping Tootle into an industrial shredder, the twins would drop us into the industrial shredder instead so…
But seriously, people. According to the story, this baby train named
“Tootle” goes to train school and takes classes in stopping for red
flags, staying on the rails (NO MATTER WHAT), and all kinds of other
things. But Tootle, being a curious, rambunctious creature, takes
off-rail romps through meadows, racing horses, making daisy-chains, and
generally having a helluva time. But the citizens of the town realize
that Tootle is breaking the cardinal rule (staying on the rails) and
they get together to teach him his lesson: i.e. do what you’re told and
stay on the straight and narrow or we’ll make you cry.
Follow those orders, Tootle.
But it gets worse. At the end of the story, Tootle has not only
internalized the rules, but he is now telling other trains to do the
same thing. Get the kids while they’re young amirite?
Anyway, you can continue to read Tootle to your kids if you want, but understand that you’ll be warping their malleable little brains. You’ve been warned.
Past Absolutely Serious Analyses:
Click, Clack, Moo
But Not the Hippopotamus
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
The Tale of Peter Rabbit
(first posted on Book Riot 3/29/16)