Traditional Thursday: The Little Engine That Could


little_engine_large_formatThe Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper, with illustrations by Loren Long, is a famous children’s book many people remember from their own childhood. The book was written in 1930, but was recently published with brand new beautiful illustrations in 2005. The edition I grew up with, and more commonly owned, is the one published in 1979 with much simpler and less colorful illustrations. The book is about a train who carries toys and food to little children on the other side of the mountain. Before the train reaches the children, her engine stops working and she comes to a stop. Several engines pass by including a shiny new engine, a big strong engine, a freight engine, an old engine, but they won’t help her. The toys, a clown, elephant, monkey and more, ask the other trains if they will help her up the mountain so the little boys and girls can get their toys, but all the engines say no, until a small little blue engine comes along and decides to help. Although she was small, she kept repeating, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can”, and was able to pull the train with the toys up the mountain. Growing up, I remember my siblings and I repeating “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can”, inspired by the little blue engine. This book is simple, and entertaining and great for young children. Children can flip through the pages and label the objects, foods and toys, and see all the different trains, and the route up the mountain.
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