THE LITTLE TRAIN by Graham Greene


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First published in 1946 with different illustrations, The Little Train is the sort of cute little cautionary tale that even a Graham Greene couldn't get away with today. Having run away from his shed in sleepy Little Snoreling puffing "Freedom, freedom, freedom," the little train becomes so apprehensive among the dark gloomy mountains and so confused in the large station at Smoke Overall (where you connect for Grimborough, High Yelling and Tomb Junction) that he is overjoyed to have the great Scottish express called Robert Bruce push him back to his welcoming home station. The Little Fire Engine, about an old fireman and his horse drawn engine who prove themselves superior to the shiny new truck and brigade brought in to replace them, is just as conventional in outline and coy in using proper nouns but more diverting in detail. The deliberate old fashioned innocence of Ardizzone's style provides just the disarming touch that both stories need, though the Fire Engine gives the illustrator more opportunity to vary the scene and the cast and is thus less confining both in looks and in message.
Pub Date: June 21st, 1974
ISBN: 0370020200
Page count: 47pp
Publisher: Doubleday
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 1974


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