The Little Engine That Could toots an inspiring message for graduates in this lively, courage-building picture book. As he coasts along his own path, the plucky blue engine is out to discover "brand-new sights" and face "brand-new hills that rise to new heights." Of course, no journey goes without "tunnels, surrounded by dark" or feelings of being "stuck on your track," but with sure-minded confidence to keep chugging along, anyone can be a happy engine if he or she remembers that "figuring things out on your own helps you grow." With all the right words of wisdom, this beloved classic is the perfect role model for starting new life chapters on just the right track.
The Little Engine That Could has chugged back into view with a new author and a new illustrator. Millions of youngsters have become imbued with the can-do spirit of this classic story by Watty Piper (a.k.a. Mabel C. Briggs) since it was first published in 1930. In the latest metamorphosis, the little blue choo-choo rumbles up life's steep inclines with firm resolve. An inspiriting tale for lovable little tykes who need a confidence boost.
This trite volume imagines The Little Engine That Could after she proves that she can, spouting clich s from her engine in a steady stream of hot air. "I wish I could show you the stops that you'll visit,/ But that isn't my choice to make for you, is it?/ Instead, I can tell you some lessons and tales/ That I've learned and relearned in my time on the rails." It's standard stuff: there are many paths in life-and a right one for you, the grass isn't really greener (translated into a transportation analogy: "Sometimes you'll look up and see planes in the sky,/ And you'll think to yourself, `I wish I could fly' "), stay true to yourself, make new friends and rely on them in times of need, etc. In one spread, the Little Engine anxiously faces a pitch-black tunnel, with headlights barely piercing the darkness. But strands of glowing track lead to the exit, and readers are reminded that "The track you took in must also go out." The relentlessly bright mood and lack of story line gives the book the feeling of an extended greeting card. However, smiling engine, cars and planes accompanied by happy people running alongside may well lift the spirits of down-and-out readers. All ages. (Mar.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Gr 3 Up-The same little blue engine "that could" is back, with a new author and illustrator. This time it is encouraging readers to choose the track that best suits their interests and talents and forge ahead on life's journey. Dorfman suggests that though there will be "deep river valleys" and "high mountaintops," dark tunnels and uncharted territory, "I think I can" should be their clarion cry. The rhyming text often does not scan and forced rhymes such as "toured"/"aboard" are sprinkled throughout. Ong's illustrations feature pastel colors and a train that looks very much like its forebear. Children and adults of different ethnic groups and genders greet it on its route. While this is a pleasant book with a much-needed message of confidence and perseverance, that message can only be understood by older children and adults. To pair it with illustrations that have a definitely "young" look makes for an uncomfortable fit. And this text breaks no ground that has not already been mined in Dr. Seuss's Oh, the Places You'll Go! (Random, 1990). Although "I think I can" has entered into the American lexicon and conjures up pleasant memories of the earlier book, this one is an additional purchase at best, especially if the Seuss book is on the shelf.-Marianne Saccardi, Norwalk Community College, CT Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.