‘Charlie the Choo-Choo‘ is the classic children’s book by Beryl Evans brought to life so classically with the talented illustrations by Ned Dameron that you would swear it was something out of a fantasy! Of course, fans of Stephen King’s ‘The Dark Tower’ series will know that the book is exactly that and that the author, Beryl Evans, is really a pseudonym for Steven King! King’s fun little cover quote of “If I were ever to write a children’s book, it would be just like this!” is just topping off the fun he is clearly having here.
Now, for those who haven’t read King’s ‘The Dark Tower’ series then let me give you a quick history on why this is so perfectly timed on release to take advantage of the continued hype of the upcoming film based on his novels. To start with, the book comes directly from ‘The Waste Lands’ which tells the story of Engineer Bob and his best friend Charlie. It pays full attention to detail on the “author” of the book and original publishing date matching up to that of the series. The book was purchased by Jake Chambers in the novel at The Manhattan Restaurant of the Mind. In fact, the way the story is told we see Charlie highly resembling Blaine the Mono from the series. While the book was popular, it is showing the author from Jake’s world here as in Roland’s version of Earth it was actually written by Claudia y Inez Bachman which is the wife of Richard Bachman, King’s pseudonym.
As a bonus, Roland’s ka-tet pass through Gage Park in Topeka at one point and see a train which looks just like Charlie who Jake instantly recognizes. Both Gage Park and Charlie are also seen in the novel ‘Cell.’
What’s fun about the book is that it isn’t really a horror book hiding as a children’s book but actually is fit for kids. Yes, Charlie looks a little evil and it is a bit sad part way through, it teaches the value of friendship and unlike most of King’s work has a happy ending. Some of the imagery of Charlie isn’t the friendliest, but none of it goes overboard on horror.
You won’t be getting much of a new story from ‘The Dark Tower’ universe in this children’s book as we already knew what the tale was about but if you want a complete collection of everything related to King’s epic series then you’ll want to add this to your bookshelf.
Charlie the Choo-Choo
By: Beryl Evans aka Stephen King
Illustrated by: Ned Dameron
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
November 22nd, 2016