Tuesday 29 August 2017

Charlie the Choo Choo by Beryl Evans and Neal Dameron (Hodder Children's Books)

Well this is rather odd...it's not often we get to feature the work of Stephen King on a children's book blog...
But here's "Charlie the Choo-Choo" by Beryl Evans, which SK fans will instantly recognise as being a book featured in the amazing Dark Tower chronicles (soon to become a feature film starring Matthew McConaughey and Idris Elba by the by!)

So disguised under the pseudonym of Beryl Evans, King (in conjunction with illustrator Neal Dameron - the very chap who contributed the illustration for Dark Tower book 3 that inspired this picture book) has drawn up a children's picture book like no other.

Charlie the Choo-Choo is a happy-go-lucky steam engine but only Charlie's driver seems to know the engine's deep dark secret. Charlie, you see, is actually alive!

I don't quite know whether to say 'Aww' or run screaming into the trees. 
Engineer Bob and Charlie are best friends, and inseparable. That is until one day when Charlie is unceremoniously replaced by a cold and heartless diesel train. Boo hiss!

Poor Charlie. Destined to choo-choo no more. 
It looks like the jig is up for poor Charlie - but will Engineer Bob and Charlie still remain friends?

It's a tale of bravery and friendship but I couldn't help but giggle evilly to myself at seeing Stephen King's wry and dark humour at every twist and turn of this book. I read this through and then handed it to Charlotte who couldn't quite understand the 'gag' but see if you can pick up on it, and better still see if you can find a way to explain why this book really demands to be read.

A work of genius. I'm slightly worried now that other horror writers might decide to join in and write children's stories. Clive, Dean, are you listening?

Charlotte's favourite bit: Poor Charlie's sad ending but was it really the end?

Daddy's favourite bit: On paper this sounds like the most nutso idea in the world, but in reality "Beryl" has written up a storm with a book that's thought provoking and yet as jarringly discomforting as one of Stephen King's grown up novels. Me likey!

(kindly supplied for review)

"Charlie the Choo Choo" by Beryl Evans and Neal Dameron is out now, published by Hodder Children's Books.