Saturday, July 07, 2007

Jump the tracks!

I've never liked this book and on the way home from yoga this morning I decided that it actually sends a really BAD message....one is the image of life as an uphill struggle with only one track and two choices.


Sure, sometimes persistence is a good thing, but at other times, it's just plain dumb.

I think fairy tales actually have emotional messages that are lot closer to the psychological truth: persistence and hard work, courage, kindness, presence of mind -- they're all necessary. But they're not enough all by themselves -- most happy endings in fairy tales come about as a result of these PLUS help and dumb luck.

In The Uses of Enchantment Bettleheim writes about this a lot more eloquently; he tells about a child who reminded herself of THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD when she was trying to do something....she kept trying and trying, but she never did succeed at whatever it was and thinking of the book actually made her feel worse.

So, I say, write books that are realistically hopeful...and I wish someone would do a rewrite of this with the little engine jumping the rails or turning itself into a flying machine.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Libby,

Have you seen the picture book "Waffle"? One of my favorites.

Katherine

alvina said...

Hey Libby,

I agree that the book may be too simplistic in its message, but I don't disagree with it. Some things may be impossible, but for the little engine, it wasn't--it was realistic that he could make it to the top of the hill. SO I don't think it's necessarily sending the wrong message. I know I've used the mantra "I think I can I think I can" often enough in my life (while running), and it's helped me.

Maybe there should be a sequel where the physics of the hill make it impossible for the little engine to make it, and the engine had to figure out alternate solutions. Anyone want to write it? It could be called, THE LITTLE ENGINE WHO FOUND A WAY

Grace Lin said...

hey, I like that...Little engine that found the way...I'll write it...

gloria estefan said...

yeah, I've done the "I think I can" when I'm running too! Sometimes you do need to tell yourself that. Of course there are other times when one really can't do it... like me as a little 4th grader in math. I don't care how much someone said "try" I just couldn't make it happen. I have another version of the train book that I'm pretty fond of. Ah, the memories. I loved looking at the pictures of the fruit and the clowns in the different cars.

hey, I've got a book to pick on. How about that lovely tree book. You know the one...

meghan

gloria estefan said...

yeah, I've done the "I think I can" when I'm running too! Sometimes you do need to tell yourself that. Of course there are other times when one really can't do it... like me as a little 4th grader in math. I don't care how much someone said "try" I just couldn't make it happen. I have another version of the train book that I'm pretty fond of. Ah, the memories. I loved looking at the pictures of the fruit and the clowns in the different cars.

hey, I've got a book to pick on. How about that lovely tree book. You know the one...

meghan

gloria estefan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Libby Koponen said...

Katherine, thanks for recommending WAFFLE! I didn't know this book....Alvina and Meghan, thanks, you really made me think.