Picture Books From The Past: The Little Engine That Could


The Little Engine That Could is a very famous children’s story that first appeared as far back as 1906. This version, written under the pen name of Watty Piper and illustrated by George & Dorris Hauman, was published in 1930. For more information on the different editions of the story, and the history of its origins, you can visit the penguin group’s website for the book.

The story begins with a train filled with toys and good food for the little boys and girls who live on the opposite side of the mountain. When the train breaks down, all the toys on board fear that the children will not get their toys or good treats before sunrise! Many trains pass by, but all refuse to pull the broken down train over the mountain. Finally, a Little Blue Engine comes by, and the toys all ask for help. Even though the Little Blue Engine wants to help the toys get to all the good boys and girls on the other side of the mountain, she doesn’t know if she can.

“I’m not very big,” said the Little Blue Engine. “I have never been over the mountain.”

Ultimately, the Little Blue Engine decides to help, and she tells herself that she can do it the entire way over the mountain, and she succeeds. This book is the perfect lesson in optimism and trying your best. It is written for readers of all ages, and it is perfect for kids just learning to read on their own. The watercolor illustrations in the 1930 edition are timeless, and the message of the story is one that is valuable for children of any age.

To watch me reading The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper, click on the video below:


I hope you love this picture book from the past!

One response »

  1. I work in a kindergarten classroom, and I just wanted to say thank you for this post. As an educator, I think that this book would be a great way to integrate character development into the reading curriculum. With the pages about what the toys ate on the train, it also offers an opportunity to incorporate a lesson about healthy eating habits/healthy foods. Also, I am grateful that yo ushared the link to the other Little Engine books–I didn't know they existed! The Little Engine ABC's, Color, and Numbers books look like they could be especially useful in the future.

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