The Little Engine That Could: 90th Anniversary Edition

Penguin. Apr. 2020. 48p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780593094396.
PreS-Gr 2–Watty Piper’s classic about the determined little train that accomplishes what bigger, stronger engines could or would not has yet another new look for a new generation. This 90th-anniversary volume is larger and bolder than the classic edition. The cartoony dolls and toy animals should appeal to youngsters used to streaming animated shows and games. Two dolls, a teddy bear, two giraffes, a purple elephant, and a green-haired clown drive the story; there is also a small red and white propeller plane on every spread for readers to spot. Santat captures the train’s motion with wind-blown locks or puffs of smoke, and the expressions on the snooty passenger train, the tired Rusty Old Engine, and the eager Little Blue speak volumes. The text is virtually the same as in the original, though broken up in a more seamless manner. There is a foreword by singer Dolly Parton, who chose this beloved title as the first book gifted by her Imagination Library, a program that gives books to children. An afterword by Santat celebrates the message of believing in oneself.
VERDICT Due to the size, bold art, and updated language, this new version of an old favorite is perfect for read-alouds.

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