Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Choo Choo's End

As a bookbinder, model railroader, and lover of children's books focused on railroads, Virginia Lee Burton's Choo Choo is a natural to bind or interpret. It was also begging me to create an artist's book based on it. In the book, Choo Choo bored by his hum-drum life of pulling locals makes a run for, loses his tender, and runs out of steam in the dark woods. In "Thomas" speak, he was not a helpful engine that day. As luck, and fate would have it, he is saved by the big, bad streamliner in the form of a stylized Union Pacific M10000 who pulls him out backwards. Though mending his ways, Choo Choo will inevitably be rendered obsolete by the streamliner.

The structure of the book is called a flagbook and while not really my bag, a lot of fun to view and handle. The image for the interior was found online thanks to the help of some friendly ferroequinologists and that on the covers was taken from the book. Overall, in terms of "finish" a passable prototype...

A fun project and one I have owed my friend Karen for some time. She makes fantastic use of the structure.

Two other examples of combining bookbinding/book arts and trains are the bindings on Carsten Ramcke's A Christmas Tale, and Other Short Stories, a compilation of some of his Märklin / railroad short stories.


I really need to do more of this...