cover image I KNEW YOU COULD! A Book for All the Stops in Your Life

I KNEW YOU COULD! A Book for All the Stops in Your Life

Craig Dorfman, , illus. by Cristina Ong. . Grosset & Dunlap/Platt & Munk, $9.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-448-43148-2

This trite volume imagines The Little Engine That Could after she proves that she can, spouting clichés from her engine in a steady stream of hot air. "I wish I could show you the stops that you'll visit,/ But that isn't my choice to make for you, is it?/ Instead, I can tell you some lessons and tales/ That I've learned and relearned in my time on the rails." It's standard stuff: there are many paths in life—and a right one for you, the grass isn't really greener (translated into a transportation analogy: "Sometimes you'll look up and see planes in the sky,/ And you'll think to yourself, 'I wish I could fly' "), stay true to yourself, make new friends and rely on them in times of need, etc. In one spread, the Little Engine anxiously faces a pitch-black tunnel, with headlights barely piercing the darkness. But strands of glowing track lead to the exit, and readers are reminded that "The track you took in must also go out." The relentlessly bright mood and lack of story line gives the book the feeling of an extended greeting card. However, smiling engine, cars and planes accompanied by happy people running alongside may well lift the spirits of down-and-out readers. All ages. (Mar.)