Shannyn’s Last Read: The Little Engine That Could


Join us all summer long for Last Read posts from a long list of talented writers, librarians and readers.

Shannyn Schroeder is the author of the O’Leary series, contemporary romances centered around a large Irish-American family in Chicago and the Hot & Nerdy series about college friends and their last spring break. When she’s not wrangling her three kids or writing, she watches a ton of TV and loves to bake cookies. Connect with Shannyn on Twitter, facebook or Pinterest.

When Ryann asked me to do a post on my last read, I planned to write about Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie. This book is why I love to read and write contemporary romance. However, Julie Ciaramella already wrote a post about this book. I agree with everything she says in her post. In fact, she does such a good job, you should just go read her post. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Okay. Now add Bet Me to your TBR.

Getting back to my post, I am not much of a rereader. I will occasionally reread a book for comfort, but in general, once I’m done with a book, I’m done (not that anything stops me from having a huge keeper shelf). So choosing a book to reread as my last ever book is really hard.

As a mother, I learned early on that rereading is a constantly occurring event. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read the same Eric Carle book or Tikki Tikki Tembo (a name we all like to rattle off because it’s fHiResun) or Green Eggs and Ham (which is especially fun when you’re a fast talker like me). Bottom line, kids love to hear the same book over and over and over. Because of this, I’m choosing The Little Engine That Could as my last read.

I did not grow up in a house of readers. In fact, we had very few books. My mother had bought a mail order set of books when my older brother was born. They were gorgeous and each had two fairy tales in them, but they were his. (Not that he’d ever read them, and my younger brother and I would probably kill to find this set). Whatever books I had were gifts that I received for Christmas.

The Little Engine That Could was one of them. I adored that book. When my younger brother wanted me to read Hansel & Gretel from the big fairy tale boLETCoks to him, I made him sit through Little Engine first. By the time I was a teen, that book, which was an oversized version, was battered and the cover was falling off. It had been well loved.

I grew up, moved out, and somewhere along the way, that battered copy disappeared. I thought nothing of it until after I had my son. For Christmas one year, my younger brother gave me a copy of The Little Engine That Could. It was identical to the one we grew up with (except BRAND NEW!). It was one of the best presents he ever gave me. I’ve read that story to each of my children countless times and it never gets old.

I can’t say that over the course of my life I spent much time thinking about the message of that book, but I do believe that it became part of me. I’m not the kind of person who backs down from a challenge, no matter how daunting. I work hard and do what needs to get done. I always have faith that I will come out the other side of whatever hardship hits me.

It’s a story of determination and perseverance and belief in yourself. I could think of no better way to leave this life than to do it reading a book that taught me how to live it.

2 Responses

  1. I’ve only just realized that of all the Little Golden Books I’ve read to my kids, I have somehow neglected to read this one! I’m kind of appalled at myself! And even though they are eleven and almost nine now, they are going to be treated to a read-a-long as soon as I can get my hands on a copy.

  2. What a MARVELOUS choice! I loved reading the story behind the story too. It’s amazing how those early books that taught us life lessons are the ones that stay with us throughout. Wonderful post!

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