Joshua’s Bookshelf!: The Little Engine That Could, by Watty Piper

[This review is based on the paperback edition published by the Platt and Monk division of Penguin Young Readers Group in 1986.]

So what’s it about?
A train carrying toys and food for children suffers a malfunction, and the toys work to find another train to carry them over a mountain to reach their destination. After being rejected twice, a small blue engine agrees to help. The famous phrase, “I think I can, I think I can” motivates the engine to keep pushing and keep trying to make it over the mountain.

What did we think of the book?
Joshua is a huge fan of all things locomotive, so this book was kind of a no-brainer. The illustrations are adorable and he was able to point out and name nearly all of the toys and foods pictured in the story. Most importantly, though, was the moral of the story: I think I can (and, later, I thought I could). This is a very important lesson for Joshua to learn; if he works hard and keeps trying, he can accomplish anything he puts his mind to. I fully support that — in fact, it’s hard not to support such a lesson, especially in children so young!

Would we add it to Joshua’s bookshelf?
The Little Engine That Could is a classic story that’s been part of childhoods for more than 80 years! Its longevity is reason enough for me to keep a copy on the shelf forever!