“The Little Engine That Could”


WATCH and LISTEN to Dan Santat read the 90th anniversary edition of The Little Engine That Could, the book he has reimagined with new, bright, bold illustrations:


SONG:  The Wheels on the Train (tune: The Wheels on the Bus)

The wheels on the train go clickety-clack,
Clickety-clack, clickety-clack.
The wheels on the train go clickety-clack
All along the track!


Additional verses:
The whistle on the train goes toot, toot, toot…
The conductor on the train says, “Ticket, please!”…
The people on the train go bounce, bounce, bounce…
The engine on the train goes chug, chug, chug…



  • Find out what children already know about trains. Have they ever ridden on a train or a subway? Where did they go? Ask: What do trains carry besides people? Have you ever seen a freight train? How many cars do you think it had? If possible, show children photographs of different kinds of trains.
  • How do you think the Little Blue Engine feels at the end of the story? Why? How do you think the toys feel? the children?
  • Have children make a smiley face and a sad face on circles of paper. As you read the story out loud, pause after each event. Have children hold up one of the faces to show if it is a happy or sad time in the story.
  • Talk about problems and solutions. Ask what the problem in the book is, and what the solution is. Post some hypothetical problems and ask the children to come up with potential solutions to these problems. Silly answers are fine!
  • “I think I can! I think I can! I think I can!” Talk about what a goal is. What was the Little Engine’s goal? How did it accomplish this goal? Ask the children what goals they can set, and have them brainstorm how to achieve those goals. Unrealistic goals/actions are just fine when brainstorming!
  • Helping others is a great way to build self-esteem (feel better as a person). Ask children what others have done to help them. Ask children what they have done to help others – or what they could do to help others.



Pete the Cat’s Train Trip by James Dean

Steam Train, Dream Train by Sherri Duskey Rinker

Steam Train, Dream Train (Read Along) by Sherri Duskey Rinker

Trains (Might Machines; Blastoff Reader) by Mary Lindeen

Trains! (Step Into Reading, Level 3) by Susan Goodman

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