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Wow, major nostalgia trip, I had that book too. I never could understand why the trains I saw passing by didn't have cabooses.

Please indulge me. It's a male female allegory!

Well surprise. We probably would never see a video game of Little Red Caboose. It supposedly perpetuates stereotypes and mistaken impressions. The PC hounds would be all over it.

"In Little Red Caboose, probably the worst picture book I've ever read, there is an illustration which illustrates the negative aspects of the theme to be considered in this essay: the depiction of Plains Indians in children's books.

As the Little Red Caboose moves through the mountains, travelling on an impossibly steep railroad grade en route to its moment of greatness, it passes through the middle of an Indian village. Tipis are pitched on both sides of the track; a chief in his flowing-feather bonnet watches the train, while children, some fully clothed, some only in breech-clouts, run forward. A pony rears excitedly, while in the distance, a group of adults, wrapped in blankets, sit in a circle, apparently oblivious to the passage of the train.

In the first place, the village and its inhabitants bear absolutely no relationship to the story and are not even mentioned in the text. They are merely decorations, a fact which may well represent the illustrator's view of them in real life. [...] And why are some of the children, in what is certainly a very cool location, wearing such scanty clothing?"

link below...

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