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The Little Engine That Could mini Hardcover – August 30, 1990
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About the Author
Watty Piper is the pseudonym of Arnold Munk, author behind the classic retelling of The Little Engine That Could and cofounder of Platt & Munk Publishers (now part of Grosset & Dunlap.) Munk’s retelling of the beloved children’s tale has sold millions of copies since its 1930 publication and inspired generations to believe they can.
Top Customer Reviews
Before he died he told me to finish my degree. I told him it would be hard because I have a big family, so much going on-- and he smiled and said, "Let me tell you about a train that couldn't get over a mountain. It had great things on it, toys for the good boys and girls, milk for their dinners. It was hard to get this train loaded with good things over the mountain but there was one little engine. . ." Three months later I am in college and this little engine goes through my mind a lot. The story is one of my children's favorites and they don't know why I can't read it without crying!
This book appeals to everyone for different reasons, but the results are the same. An iron will allows us to overcome any obstacle!
Long's illustrations are beautiful and, in my opinion, suit the story better than the old ones did. As I child, I was never quite sure if the clown and dolls were toys or people. Long's illustration makes them obviously toys.
Long's illustrations give the different locomotives distinct looks and personalities. The original illustrations for both previous editions of the book have locomotives that are virtually identical, except for being different colors. The passenger engine in Long's illustration is a sleek, streamlined design with an arrogant, sneering expression, while the freight engine is a massive, dark iron, whale-like machine that looms over and peers down at the tiny clown.
It's unfortunate that the review from the School Library Journal was chosen by Amazon for the Editorial Reviews, above. I'd like to correct some errors - the writer has her facts wrong about the history of this book.
What Burg believes to be the original edition of the book is, in fact, the 1954 edition with illustrations by George and Doris Hauman. Although Burg praises the '1930s' look of these illustrations with the green poka-dotted clown, they scream '1950s!'. While most people today are familiar with this version, I think the older illustrations are showing their age, and I believe children today will relate better to Long's paintings. Also, as I have stated above, I believe Long's illustrations help tell the story better.
The actual 1930s illustrations were colored line drawings by Lois Lenski, and few people today will have seen them. Interestingly, those illustrations show the story taking place in a stark, snow-covered winter landscape.
Burg claims Loren Long's paintings have a '1950s' look. Anyone familiar with painting styles of the 1930s will recognize the influence of painters like Grant Wood on Long's style. Long's illustrations are much truer to the 1930s than the 1954 illustrations are.
I am a friend of Loren Long's, and I know how hard he worked on these illustrations and how much this book meant to him. These paintings were a labor of love.
He was scared and shy, but he loved the "characters," which I could only differentiate for him by sound, and he especially loved the famous repeating line "I think I can."
As my whispers rose to crescendo, he squealed in delight. Nowadays he reads much harder books before going to sleep at night. But he likes every now and then to come back to this one: He well remembers the first moments of bonding with me, and with this book.
--- Alyssa A. Lappen