Picture Book Review: The Little Red Caboose by Marian Potter

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Book Title: The Little Red Caboose
Author: Marian Potter
Illustrator: Tibor Gergely
Publisher: Golden Books
Year Published: 1953

Availability: Click for an available copy from Amazon

The Little Red Caboose by Marian PotterThe Little Red Caboose by Marian Potter is one of the most cherished children’s picture books ever written. Or maybe that’s what it seems like to me because I or my wife read it to my son twice a day for about 3 years and once a night for an additional two years. That’s a lot of reading The Little Red Caboose. We could’ve named it the Little “Read” Caboose, huh?

With such a great picture book as The Little Red Caboose as her first published book, one would think Marian Potter would’ve written many more titles, but her total output of children’s book was only seven. I find it fascinating and pretty normal for a writer, that she incorporated her early life as a railroad station agent’s daughter into her writing as much as she did. This is reflected in The Little Red Caboose and other books.

In The Little Red Caboose, Potter tells the tale of the last car on the train, the caboose, who thinks he is not worthy at all. He actually thinks he is a mighty useless part of the train, until that day comes when the big black engine can’t make it up to the top of the mountain. The Little Red Caboose slams on his brakes and saves the day until another train behind him comes and pushes the freight train up over the mountain. None of this could’ve been done if it were not for the Little Red Caboose.

A great lesson is taught here for small children, but it does need to be reinforced from time to time with real life encouragement, and that lesson is that we should each be proud of who we are and not always envy others as we are apt to do. Yes, it may seem a bit didadactic, but that’s definitely not the way it comes off via the wonderful writing of Marian Potter.


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