A little golden book and record.
The protagonist is Tootle, a baby locomotive attending train school. Tootle hopes to grow up to be the Flyer on the New York-Chicago route. His schoolwork includes tasks such as stopping at red flags and pulling a dining car without spilling the soup. His most important lesson is that he must stay on the rails no matter what. Bill, his good friend and teacher, tells Tootle that trains are not professional unless they get 100 A+ on staying on the rails no matter what. One day, when Tootle is practicing this lesson, a horse challenges him to a race to the river. Tootle is faster than the horse but loses his lead when he turns a curve so he gets off the tracks to tie with the horse. In the days that follow, Tootle becomes fond of playing in the meadow and not staying on the rails. Bill quickly discovers what Tootle has been doing. Not wanting to take away Tootle’s chance at being a Flyer, Bill concocts a plan with the mayor to put Tootle back on the tracks. One day when Tootle is driving on the railroad, he hops off the tracks to play in the meadow but sees red flags everywhere in the grasses. He grows frustrated at having to stop at red flags. Trains hate nothing more than stopping. Tootle then sees Bill with a green flag over the rails. Having learned his lesson, Tootle gets back on the track and says that playing in the meadow only brings red flags to trains. In response to the lesson learned the town cheers for him and rewards Tootle the Flyer the route to Chicago. Many years later, an older and wiser Tootle teaches some new locomotives lessons including “Stay on the rails no matter what.”
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