Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Little Train (Mr. Small, #4)” as Want to Read:
The Little Train (Mr. Small, #4)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Little Train

(Mr. Small #4)

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  292 ratings  ·  40 reviews
Mr. Small does it all!

In this adventure, Engineer Small drives his little train from Tinytown to the city-and back. Along the way, the little train passes tunnels and stops at stations to pick up cargo and passengers.

Presented in full color for the first time, Lois Lenski's The Little Train will delight a whole new generation of readers as they learn all about the ins and
Hardcover, 56 pages
Published October 24th 2000 by Random House Books for Young Readers (first published 1940)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Little Train, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Little Train

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Rating details
Sort: Default
Jun 22, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: childrens
My kids love trains but compared to some of the others this didn't even come close to keeping them interested. Way too much information compared to the size of pictures and I had to read fast to get through all the words before their attention was elsewhere. The problem is I find most kids interested in trains are 2-3 year olds. So by the time they're old enough to understand and digest all the information about trains, they're no longer interested in trains, like my 5-yr-old. This wasn't a book ...more
Oct 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So here's a fun fact: the board book edition of The Little Train is abridged. It has fewer pages and the text is less detailed and more streamlined. While as an adult I liked learning about semaphores and such in the original edition, I found myself abridging as I went along to cater to my toddler's attention span. The board book takes care of this.
Dec 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Ding-ding! Choo-choo!!!

Luisa Knight
A more detailed look at trains and the day in the life of an engineer than your average story. For the real train enthusiasts for sure.

Ages: 5 - 8

Note: Parents, this book is lengthier than other picture books.

**Like my reviews? I also have hundreds of detailed reports that I offer too. These reports give a complete break-down of everything in the book, so you'll know just how clean it is or isn't. I also have Clean Guides (downloadable PDFs) which enable you to clean up your book before reading
Sep 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The boys loved this book and so did I. I learned a lot and it was engaging. They didn’t move once I started reading it. I’ll be looking for more in the series.
Jan 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
Quite an excellent little book, containing a surprising amount of technical detail on steam engines and railroad signals. I have really enjoyed reading this over and over and over again to my train-obsessed four-year-old; I certainly learned a few things in the process. Cute illustrations throughout carefully blend realism with tot-accessible simplicity.
Jul 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a cute book for train enthusiasts.
Nov 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Good for kindergarten-age kids that are into trains
Brian Bates
Jan 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
sweet book. one of my favorite of the small collection.
Sol González
Jan 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018, infantil
Le tengo que decir al sobrino que hay un libro de trenes.

En préstamo en la OpenLibrary
Rachel Collins
Oct 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Genre: Contemporary Realistic
Grade Level: 3

Personally, I found this hard to follow and difficult to understand. It was a nice, educational book, but some of the language was too advanced in my opinion. I had a hard time knowing what was going on in the story. If I was having trouble, I believe it would be too difficult for young children as well. The illustrations are nice. I liked that the book was little to match " The Little Train" and "Mr. Small". It was not my favorite, but maybe someone wh
Feb 25, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cute but wordy and not that exciting.
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
I hadn't heard of this book before coming across it rather randomly at a little shop in a small Ontario town, but it was rather cute and the kids love anything to do with trains and trucks etc.

The story purports to be about Engineer Small and his little engine, but it's really just about the little engine and it's journey from Tiny Town to the city.

The illustrations have that 1940s look to them, and rules of perspective are enthusiastically thrown out the window, but they're very engaging and t
Feb 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
This book is delightful. The illustrations are quaint. The plot is simple: Engineer Small prepares his engine and safely conducts it - passengers, baggage, and mail included - to the next town, passing landmarks such as a drawbridge, railroad crossing, and a tunnel. Along the way, concepts such as the meaning of semaphore positions and the functioning of a steam engine are explained in clear uncomplicated terms. I learned a lot from this book, as did my son, and after multiple readings I still d ...more
Jennifer (JenIsNotaBookSnob)
Old fashioned and showing it's age. It's still neat to read especially to contrast with Rev Awdry's Thomas the Tank Engine stories which came around a few short years later. Awdry's stories end up being more fun, but, it's still neat to see the depictions of a little engine resting in a roundhouse.

This is more of a book for a little train enthusiast. It goes on a bit long for small children with only a passive interest in trains.
Oct 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: 3 - 6 year olds, lovers of train
What I most liked about this book was all the details about the names and functions of different parts of the engine that are incorporated into the story. It describes how they prepare the train for take off. Along the way, attention is brought to the things the engineer need to watch out for, how the express train passes the little train, etc. For a simple little story, surprisingly informative. Perfect for an inquisitive 4 year old!
Jan 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013, childrens
Published in 1940, this little book will be sure to delight kids even today, with it's charming pictures done in both black and white, and sporadic red. Train enthusiasts will appreciate the page that tells what each part of the train engine engine is called.

The Little Train is all about Engine Small, his little black train, and his steam engine. It's a story about a journey that his train goes on. Train lovers will adore this book and the illustrations.
Jeremy Dean
Sep 25, 2015 rated it did not like it
Excruciatingly technical in its detail. No child needs to know this much about how trains work unless they actually plan on being a nineteenth century engineer when they grow up. And even the most patient of adults will be tested by the mechanical monotony; it's like reading an instruction manual aloud.
Feb 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
Henry adores this book. There's a lot of text, an awful lot, as Lenski outlines the details of how a train goes, what various people do in making it go, how it gets through a mountain, the ins and outs on a level of a three-year-old. But apparently it's the right length, because he's fascinated every time.
Apr 02, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
Shelves: 2009, childrens
This is an interesting book about trains, but a little long for younger children. I was impressed that our oldest pointed out that all the names in the book were synonyms for tiny, and they all lived in Tinyville.
Samantha Penrose
Jun 12, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: kids-books
Its really not all that exciting to me, but the boys really love it. Its a short, sweet, simple story about engineer small and his train.
We have the board book version and it has held up quite nicely...I think its been on our shelf for 5 years!
Rhoda Yost
Feb 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Even though this is an older book, the three year old I read this to enjoyed it very much. A slightly older child could learn the difference between trains long ago and trains now. Wonderful drawings.
Jul 28, 2015 added it
All by herself!
Jun 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-books
I totally concur with "Aldean's" review, and the onomotopoeia is great too.
Sep 30, 2014 added it
Shelves: 1-000-books
Mandy E
Feb 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: for-babes
excellent for little train enthusiasts
Andd Becker
Feb 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Wonderful story! Excellent illustrations!
Apr 01, 2016 rated it did not like it
This book was way too hard for a toddler, but will try again when my toddler is older.
Sep 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens
Engineer Small rocks!
Jun 24, 2009 rated it liked it
A good reader and good for kids who loves trains.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Dig Dig Digging
  • And the Train Goes...
  • When the Wind Stops
  • My Friends/Mis Amigos
  • Seven Little Postmen
  • Bright Baby Animals
  • The Dragon Machine
  • Mama, Is It Summer Yet?
  • The Secret Circus
  • Oops! A Diaper David Book
  • Spinky Sulks
  • The Gingerbread Boy
  • How a House Is Built
  • Little Blue Truck Leads the Way
  • Curious George Takes a Train
  • The Wind Blew
  • I Love You, Good Night
  • Choo Choo

Many of Lenski's books can be collated into 'series' - but since they don't have to be read in order, you may be better off just looking for more information here:

Probably her most famous set is the following:
American Regional Series

Beginning with Bayou Suzette in 1943, Lois Lenski began writing a series of books whic

Other books in the series

Mr. Small (9 books)
  • The Little Auto (Mr. Small, #1)
  • The Little Sailboat (Mr. Small, #2)
  • The Little Airplane (Mr. Small, #3)
  • The Little Farm (Mr. Small, #5)
  • The Little Fire Engine
  • Cowboy Small
  • Papa Small (Mr. Small, #8)
  • Policeman Small (Mr. Small, #10)