8 - The Little Engine That Could
can a book be more inspirational than The Little Engine That Could? The
1954 version still popular today was written by "Watty Piper," a pen
name of Arnold Munk, the owner of Platt & Munk Publishing. He got the idea
from Thinking One Can a lesson in the 1906 Sunday school lesson booklet
in Wellsprings for Young People. Another version, “The Pony Engine,”
appeared in the Kindergarten Review in 1910, written by Mary C. Jacobs.
A revision by Olive B. Miller, published in Chicago in 1920, was sold door to
door. Borrowing from the popular story, the 1941 Disney movie Dumbo’s
train repeats "I-Think-I-Can-I-Think-I-Can" as it struggles uphill,
then races downhill declaring "I-Thought-I-Could-I-Thought-I-Could."
A favorite for generations, the Watty Piper version not only teaches possibility
thinking, but also borrows from the story of the Good Samaritan – as several
engines refuse to help – one lamenting “I-cannot-I-cannot-I-cannot.” Only the
Little Engine saves the day – teaching a powerful concept to generations: that
if you quit, you fail, but if you keep on trying, you can succeed.
~ Rob Kerby
Purchase "The Little Engine That Could" here.