The Little Engine That Could, Review and Giveaway

“I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.”

Instantly recognizable as the famous line from the classic children’s story by Watty Piper, this mantra is at the core of the new DVD release of the animated film The Little Engine That Could. Expanding on the traditional story, the film maintains the essence of Little Engine’s character- someone who believes in herself, even in the face of significant challenges.

Everything gets all mixed up in Dreamland when a human child mistakenly enters its realm. As a result, a special toy delivery is in jeopardy, but Little Engine has faith that she can do the job, even when all the other trains discourage her efforts. Along the way, she faces challenges and big scares, but we all know what happens when Little Engine believes she can do something, right?

The film has a fun cast with some recognizable voices, such as Whoopi Goldberg and Jamie Lee Curtis, and some popular young stars like Corbin Bleu and Brenda Song. The animation style is consistent with the bright and colorful images I’m familiar with in a couple of the most well-known book versions, such as Loren Long’s illustrations in the 2005 edition of The Little Engine That Could. While the story is more complex in this almost 90 minute film, the feeling remains the same.

My own kids have enjoyed the movie a couple of times now, and at 3.5 and 5 years old, they’re right in what I would perceive to be the target age range for the film. They’re not particularly “train obsessed” as some kids are known to be, but they’ve enjoyed the funny banter between the engines and the beauty and joy that is apparent in Dreamland. However, there’s one segment of the film that registered as a bit more disturbing and intense than I expected in the form of a “Nightmare Train,” which I think might be scary to some young children. Many of the movies that my kids have watched include a scene that we tend to skip, and this may be the case with other families as well. The majority of the film is more lighthearted, and the other conflicts were easier for my own children to handle and even provided fodder for conversations about sticking up for yourself and finding courage.

Universal Pictures has partnered with the Starlight Children’s Foundation for the DVD release of The Little Engine That Could, and they will be making a donation of 50 cents for each DVD sold. In addition, Amtrak has a limited time offer: buy the DVD and receive a “Kids Ride Free” AMTRAK coupon. Coupons valid from when booking your travel from March 22 – September 15, 2011 for travel October 1, 2011 – February 29, 2012 (restrictions and black-out dates apply).

Giveway time! We have a special prize pack worth $200 for one lucky winner:

To enter, please leave one comment here. Giveaway open to U.S. mailing address only. We’ll announce the winner in our 5/23 column.

For more reviews on literature to film adaptations, please check out the archives of our Books on Screen feature on 5 Minutes for Books.

Written by Dawn, whose children are big fans of both books and movies, but their parents push one more than the other. (Can you guess?) Both also make frequent appearances as topics on Dawn’s blog, my thoughts exactly and love enjoying the books she reviews at 5 Minutes for Books.


  1. JoannaTopazT says

    This sounds like a fun DVD; The LIttle Engine That Could is one of my four-year-old’s favorite bedtime reading choices when we’re at my inlaws’.

  2. MIa Dentice Carey says

    WOW! What a GREAT giveaway!! My son LOVES trains and The Little Engine That Could is his favorite book! Thanks for the opportunity!!!

  3. says

    This GIVEAWAY fits my boys Perfect :) They love Trains and we need a new portable DVD player to my our road trips a little more enjoyable and exciting :) and what not to keep them company while on our trips the DVD..THANKS!! :)

  4. says

    Awww! We have an old VHS version of The Little Engine that Could. It was my kids favorite. Now that we have a new baby in the house again, I would love this newest version. :)

  5. Debby says

    This would make me a totally awesome grandma! The book and story alone are great, but a ticket to ride a real train would be awesome.

  6. Ali says

    What a great package. I have always loved the book and the meaning of the book. This would be wonderful to win!

  7. says

    This story was always a favorite of mine growing up and I’d love to share it with my little ones! Thank you for the chance to win! :-)

  8. Debra says

    How could you lose if you had the book, dvd player, and a ticket to ride a real train. Great gift!

  9. Stacey says

    My son would love to ride a real train. He really likes this book and would love to have a dvd player!

  10. Ali says

    My girls love trains and they love this book. They would love to ride on a real train and would drive me nuts playing a DVD player, ha ha!

  11. Leslie Pleasants says

    My kids love trains! We have been thinking about taking a train trip instead of flying (since I am affraid of flying). :)

  12. Vickie Couturier says

    my 4 grandsons would love this,,,,an one has a birthday next month so this would be perfect


  13. Debra says

    I think I can, I think I can. This is my favorite saying!! This book is wonderful and the other gifts that come with it are awesome! A real train ride, my grandkids would love it!

  14. Ali says

    My girls love this book. They have always wanted to ride a real train. They would be very happy if Mama won this!

  15. Dee says

    This would make my nephew Jakie so, so excited! This would be a great Birthday present for him !!! He is completely obsessed with trains and this is his dream to ride the big Amtrak Train.PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE let me be the lucky winner of this for him!!!

  16. Nicole says

    My, almost three year old, son would love this. We have also been thinking of taking a trip on Amtrak this summer. I would love to give this to him for his third birthday!

  17. Stacey says

    The moral of this story is so true. My son loved this book and he is excited about the new movie of it.

  18. connie black says

    Wow, what a fabulous, generous giveaway. This would be great for my daughter in the car! Fingers are crossed!


  1. […] We’ll draw the winners on June 6. Remember FIVE of you have a chance to win.The winner of the Little Engine that Could DVD (and other items worth over $200) is #39 Becky M. Written by 5 Minutes for Books managing editor […]

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