“If I were ever to write a children’s book, it would be just like this!” - Stephen King
When Charlie the Choo-Choo first appeared as a limited edition of just 150 copies given out at to attendees at the San Diego Comic-Con it caused quite a stir. The answer to whether or not Charlie the Choo-Choo was a Stephen King book or not though, was quickly answered and, of course, Beryl Evans, the author of Charlie the Choo-Choo, is none other Stephen King himself.
Charlie the Choo-Choo is an illustrated children’s book that has its roots in Stephen king’s Dark Tower series. Eagle eyed readers of Stephen King books might also remember that Charlie the Choo-Choo gets a mention in StephenKing’s Cell as well.
The book, which is brilliantly illustrated by Ned Dameron, follows the adventures of Engineer Bob, who has a secret, His secret is that his engine, Charlie the Choo-Choo, is alive and Charlie is Bob’s best friend
If you are put off by the thought that Charlie the Choo-Choo is nothing but a children’s story, don’t be, because it has a distinct Stephen King feel to it and it does form a part of the Dark Tower narrative. In fact, although it is billed as a children’s book, Charlie the Choo-Choo is definitely a very sinister looking train and you often find yourself wondering what the engine is really thinking behind his evil, knowing little smile.
Fans of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series may remember Charlie the Choo-Choo from The Dark Tower III: The Waste Lands where he turns up in a picture book written by Beryl Evans, the same pseudonym for that Stephen King used to publish this illustrated children’s book.
The plot of Charlie the Choo-Choo isn’t exactly complicated. After all it is supposed to be a children’s book. It’s basically about Charlie and Bob’s friendship and the threat that is posed by the introduction of more modern trains.
Kid’s will no doubt love story and they might even love Charlie too, but Charlie is a creepy looking little train that looks like he’s hiding something, so don’t be surprised if kids see through him and don’t totally trust Charlie. Adults might also find themselves wondering if Charlie is just taking advantage of the jovial, goof natured Engineer Bob and using that creepy smile to get his own way.
Perhaps Charlie the Choo-Choo is nothing more than an innocent children’s book after all and we are just imagining that Stephen King is playing the trick he plays so well by taking something that appears to be perfectly innocent and then surprising us with the evil truth. Then again, perhaps there is far more to Charlie the Choo-Choo than first meets the eye.