If you thought Thomas the Tank Engine hailed from the worst parts of the Uncanny Valley, here comes Charlie the Choo-Choo to make you reevaluate that.
Images from Charlie the Choo-Choo via Amazon
The book and the fake author, Beryl Evans, are referenced in the actual Dark Tower mythology, specifically The Waste Lands; it’s purchased Jake Chambers at the Manhattan Restaurant of the Mind. So of course Stephen King actually wrote it using the fictional Evans as a pseudonym. And he also gave it the giant winking blurb of “If I were ever to write a children’s book, it would be just like this!” (In case you were wondering, “Stephen King” is a character that exists in the Dark Tower books, so he also could have endorsed this book in-universe as well.)
Here’s the synopsis of Charle the Choo-Choo from Amazon:
Engineer Bob has a secret: His train engine, Charlie the Choo-Choo, is alive… and also his best friend. From celebrated author Beryl Evans and illustrator Ned Dameron comes a story about friendship, loyalty, and hard work.
That sounds less like a whimsical tale for kids and more like a story of a very lonely man. Let’s just take a peek inside —
OK, yeah. That’s fairly sad. Thanks a lot, King.