The Little Engine That Could

Author: "retold" by Watty Piper
Illustrator: Lois Lenski
Publisher: Platt and Munk
Publication Date: 1930
Genre: picture book
Audience: Gr. Pre-K+

Overview: This story is about a little railroad engine that only pulled a few cars from time to time on and off the switches. One morning, a long train of freight cars needed to be pulled over the hill. They asked numerous large engines to pull the weight, only to be turned down every time. Out of desperation, the freight cars had no choice but to ask the smallest railroad engine to pull the cars. The engine chanted, “ I think I can,” the entire trip and knew that he was able to do the work. The train finally reached the top, as a result of the brave effort of the little engine. As the small locomotive came back down the mountain, the other large engines watched in amazement.

Activity: After reading the book, the children could think to themselves a time when they thought something was difficult for them or knew of someone that struggled with something in their life. How did they overcome such an obstacle and what did it feel like or what do you think it felt like to accomplish something that was thought to be too hard to complete? Have children talk about it with a friend, then ask for volunteers to talk about what they have shared with their partners.

Reviewer’s Name: Laura Rickus