So I’m reading this story to my kid the other night and I can’t help but think, “Wait, what the fuck is this book about?” I mean, it’s literally about a baby train that dares to go off the tracks but what’s that all about? From almost the very first page, we are told the most important thing for a train to learn is never, EVER go off the tracks. Problem is Tootle enjoys it. So, they trick him into thinking life outside the tracks is a living hell by planting red flags all over the countryside (trains can’t stand red flags because they mean stop). Eventually he ends up “back on track” and grows up to be one of the manliest locomotives ever. Is this book about not straying from the path of conformity or does it go a step further and tell kids not to stray from heterosexuality?


The metaphors are not exactly an Easter Egg Hunt. The protagonist’s voice is “A gay little Tootle” and there’s nothing he loves more than prancing around the garden. One day, after a particularly dainty prance session, a daisy is discovered on his person back at the shop. The horror!

How can this book not be about being gay?


The whole thing is, as the boss of the trains put it is, “very queer.” So I’m sitting there telling my kid how evil it is to be gay and I feel the same way the authors would feel if they found themselves reading a kid’s book on how to be gay. The red flags they planted in the field must translate to real life “red flags” like your friends asking, “Why do you hang out with hairdressers so much” and “What’s with the Marc Bolan poster?” What the fuck kind of book is this? Even if it’s not brave enough to go the whole gay hog, I don’t want to be telling them some story about how awful it is to step out of line and do your own thing.

Dear kids, if you’re gay that’s unfortunate, I guess. Things are complicated when you’re gay and it’s tough to have kids of your own etc. However, if we ever see some red flags pop up, we’ll both have to shrug our shoulders and say, “Them’s the breaks.” There is no way we’re going to rip you out of the forest, drag you back to the station and say, “Never EVER go off track!”



  1. Vincent Says:

    This blog is perfect. Nice work.

  2. miss universe Says:

    LOL Gavin, ur da funniest. This book is awful, it’s like the opposite of Ferdinand the Bull. When was it published?

  3. Fritz Says:

    I hate this book too! I’ve just stopped reading the actual words to the kid and started making up some bullshit about how everyone thinks its amazine when Tootle goes off the tracks.

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