The Little Engine That Could, Review and Giveaway

by 5 Minutes for Books

“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.



Email Author    |    Website About 5 Minutes for Books

5 Minutes for Books is the 5 Minutes for Mom sister site devoted to reviewing books for adults -- fiction, memoir, and nonfiction -- and kids of all ages. Managed by Jennifer Donovan, other contributors are Dawn, Lauren, Nancy, and Elizabeth. Follow us @5M4B on twitter and subscribe to our feed or like us on Facebook so you don't miss a thing!

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{ 82 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Angela W. May 9, 2011 at 12:31 am

My boys LOVE trains. I’m certain this would be a hit at my house.

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2 JoannaTopazT May 9, 2011 at 12:45 am

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’.

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3 MIa Dentice Carey May 9, 2011 at 1:14 am

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

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4 Mommy Crafts May 9, 2011 at 3:09 am

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!! :)

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5 Carol Hatcher May 9, 2011 at 8:28 am

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. :)

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6 June May 9, 2011 at 8:55 am

Such a great story to inspire your little one’s about not giving up.

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7 Suzanne R. May 9, 2011 at 8:58 am

This is one of my all-time favorites. I bet my daughter would love it too!!

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8 Vilmarys May 9, 2011 at 9:15 am

My daughter would love this!

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9 HappyMomC May 9, 2011 at 10:25 am

Would love to win this for my daughter!

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10 Marilyn May 9, 2011 at 10:28 am

My daughter loves this book so I am sure she would love the DVD. Thanks for the giveaway!

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11 Stacie May 9, 2011 at 11:24 am

This would be so cool to win! Love the book!

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12 Shrinking Mommy of 2 May 9, 2011 at 1:16 pm

My son LOVES trains…he would love this book. I love the “I think I can” part because I tell my kids the same thing.

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13 Alison S. May 9, 2011 at 2:13 pm

My son is in love with all things train. He would be thrilled to win this.

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14 Debby May 9, 2011 at 3:50 pm

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.

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15 Ali May 9, 2011 at 3:50 pm

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

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16 Stacey May 9, 2011 at 4:05 pm

Ride the train, get a book, and have a great time doing it all!

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17 CORY May 9, 2011 at 4:10 pm

I WOULD LOVE TO WIN THIS FOR MY SON!
MYCHANCETOWIN AT GMAIL DOT COM

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18 Angela E. May 9, 2011 at 4:19 pm

What a great story DVD giveaway this is.

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19 Kristie May 9, 2011 at 5:07 pm

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! :-)

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20 Karen Propes May 9, 2011 at 11:11 pm

Love this giveaway, my kids would love it so.
ncjeepster@aol.com

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21 Natalia May 9, 2011 at 11:56 pm

My son will love this!

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22 John May 9, 2011 at 11:56 pm

Would like to win

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23 Isabelle May 9, 2011 at 11:56 pm

Nice!

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24 Barbara Manatee May 10, 2011 at 6:13 am

I have a 4 year old and a 2 year old that both LOVE trains…oh they’d be so happy to win this!

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25 Miami lasik surgery May 10, 2011 at 8:23 am

This is the perfect gift for my little nephew, he loves trains, he has many toys , train station, with battery,, without battery….I guess he will be a train driver :)

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26 Christine May 10, 2011 at 12:21 pm

I think this movie would be a big hit with my 3 year old daughter!

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27 Debra May 10, 2011 at 1:15 pm

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

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28 Stacey May 10, 2011 at 1:15 pm

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

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29 Ali May 10, 2011 at 1:17 pm

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!

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30 Dena May 10, 2011 at 1:59 pm

My children would LOVE this.

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31 Dee May 10, 2011 at 2:00 pm

Love this giveaway – my grandkids would too!

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32 Terra Heck May 10, 2011 at 2:07 pm

This is a cute movie. Please count me in to win.
partymix25(at)hotmail(dot)com

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33 Kathy Stevenson May 10, 2011 at 3:35 pm

I would love to win this!

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34 Leslie Pleasants May 10, 2011 at 4:09 pm

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

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35 Betty Bill May 10, 2011 at 4:23 pm

My grandkids would love this!

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36 Vickie Couturier May 10, 2011 at 5:01 pm

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

vlbelk(at)hotmail.com

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37 Drew Stevenson May 10, 2011 at 7:04 pm

This is a great giveaway!

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38 Garrett May 10, 2011 at 9:48 pm

I remember my Mom reading me this story when I was a little one, it was a good story.

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39 Becky M May 11, 2011 at 8:55 am

Great giveaway! My boys love trains!

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40 Shanna Gilbert May 11, 2011 at 12:23 pm

I hope I win!

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41 Ashley May 11, 2011 at 1:43 pm

My 2 boys would absolutely LOVE this movie! Thanks for the chance!!!
agatewood1@ymail.com

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42 Kay M. May 11, 2011 at 5:32 pm

I would love to win this for my oldest daughter. She has four children that are the perfect age group for the movie.

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43 Desiree M. May 11, 2011 at 5:42 pm

We love this moving! My boys would love to win this one!

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44 Don May 11, 2011 at 8:31 pm

Very good story to read to the kids.

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45 LaVonne May 11, 2011 at 10:22 pm

This sounds great! Thanks for the chance to win!

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46 Susan May 12, 2011 at 10:06 am

My nephew Jake needs to ride on an Amtrak train! He is train obsessed :)

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47 CaroleM May 12, 2011 at 1:13 pm

My son keeps asking for this movie!! Thanks!

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48 Debra May 12, 2011 at 4:34 pm

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!

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49 Ali May 12, 2011 at 4:35 pm

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

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50 Stacey May 12, 2011 at 4:36 pm

My son would love this. He loves the book and he would really like the ride on a real train.

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51 Dee May 12, 2011 at 6:58 pm

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!!!

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52 Nicole May 12, 2011 at 7:20 pm

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!

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53 Ellen C. May 12, 2011 at 11:01 pm

I’d love to win this prize. Thanks for the chance.

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54 Aleks May 13, 2011 at 1:20 pm

Thanks for the chance to win! My daughter would enjoy this!

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55 jenna May 13, 2011 at 5:15 pm

My kiddos love trains.. we love Thomas, Polar Express especially. This would be a welcome addition to our library!

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56 Staci A May 13, 2011 at 10:32 pm

My son adores trains. He would love this DVD!

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57 Daniel M May 13, 2011 at 11:02 pm

my nephew loves trains (my dad’s fault)

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58 Chuck May 14, 2011 at 12:14 am

My wife and I read this story to our little ones all the time, they love it.

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59 nan May 14, 2011 at 8:56 pm

my son would love this
nannypanpan at gmail.com

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60 Jennifer May 15, 2011 at 7:21 am

It would be great to win this giveaway!

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61 Debra May 15, 2011 at 2:48 pm

All three of these gifts are great. I love the book,!

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62 Stacey May 15, 2011 at 2:48 pm

I love this book. The ticket and dvd player would be great too!

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63 Alison May 15, 2011 at 2:49 pm

This would be a great thing to win for my daughters!

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64 kelly May 15, 2011 at 7:33 pm

my son would love this!

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65 Missy M. May 16, 2011 at 3:17 pm

My nephew would love this!

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66 Stacey May 16, 2011 at 4:47 pm

It is about time they made a movie from this book. Great thing to teach children, you can!

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67 Alison May 16, 2011 at 4:47 pm

This is one of my all time favorite books. My children love me to read it!

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68 Debby May 16, 2011 at 4:48 pm

This is one of the best children’s books around. I can’t wait to see the movie!

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69 Debra May 17, 2011 at 3:05 pm

I can’t wait to see this movie. I have always loved the book!

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70 Ali May 17, 2011 at 3:06 pm

This is one of my all time favorite books. The message is so true! A movie of it will be great.

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71 Stacey May 17, 2011 at 3:06 pm

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

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72 connie black May 18, 2011 at 9:17 am

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

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73 Annette W May 18, 2011 at 1:13 pm

We love The Little Engine That Could books that we have! I’d love this prize pack for my kids!

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74 Deb May 18, 2011 at 1:19 pm

What a wonderful gift package. I love the book!!!

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75 Stacey May 18, 2011 at 1:20 pm

This is a classic book. Having the dvd player too would be wonderful.

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76 Alison May 18, 2011 at 1:21 pm

This is my all time favorite book. I love the meaning of it. My children would love it!

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77 katklaw777 May 19, 2011 at 7:02 am

This would be great for traveling this summer…Fantastic giveaway, thanks!

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78 SamanthaR May 19, 2011 at 11:23 am

My son would love this!!!

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79 Deb May 20, 2011 at 12:16 pm

This is an awesome gift and my grandkids would love it!

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80 Stacey May 20, 2011 at 12:17 pm

My favorite book and would love the dvd player.

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81 Al May 20, 2011 at 12:17 pm

Great gift package. Would love to win it for my children.

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82 Michelle May 30, 2011 at 12:58 am

This book is darling! I would love this for my girls. :D

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