1. Parenting
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

The Busy Little Engine - DVD Review

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating


The Busy Little Engine
©2005, Squirrel Tracks Wooden Trains. All rights reserved.
MPAA Rating: NR
Target Age Group: 2-6 years
Runtime: Approx. 34 minutes

Overview of The Busy Little Engine

With the help of an informative narrator, a wooden toy train and his friend Pig learn about what real trains do. The story of The Busy Little Engine progresses as Pig asks questions about trains, farms, and factories while the Busy Little Engine pretends to be a real train picking up the ingredients to make cookies.

The Busy Little Engine is filmed using live footage of a toy train and images of the toy train inserted into live footage, making it appear as though the train is traveling through actual scenery. Images of real trains are also shown to help kids learn about different types of trains. Both the story and images are slow paced, and the characters are very simple, creating a gentle and age-appropriate experience much like being read to from a book. An original musical score featuring three songs performed by Jimmy Magoo adds even more fun to the busy train and the inquisitive pig’s adventures.

Educational Goals of The Busy Little Engine

Creator Desmond Mullen talks about one aspect of his goals in making the DVD saying:

“Children love to play with wooden trains, but most children don’t really know much about what real trains do. Learning a little about what trains do all day really enhances a child’s creative play possibilities and helps the child understand a little bit more about how the world works.”

Guide Review of The Busy Little Engine

The Busy Little Engine’s sweet story is perfectly paced for children of the targeted age group. By not trying to cram too much information into a 30 minute time frame, the movie allows children to take the time to soak up the details of the story and take in the images and ideas as informative parts of a whole – the whole being a fun adventure. In this way, although the DVD presents information and facts, children do not feel like they are expected to learn something. They just see a fun story about a lot of interesting things they didn’t know before.

The DVD also features music by Jimmy Magoo that kids will love, and his music fits the story so well. I have two little girls, and they adored the DVD, but I can just imagine a little boy who loves toy trains watching this and singing the music all day long. The Busy Little Engine captures the simple charm of the toy train – a toy which has been long treasured by children and has in fact become a symbol of childhood.

Expand Upon the Curriculum of The Busy Little Engine

  • After watching the DVD, gather the ingredients and make cookies with your child. Have fun talking about each ingredient and how it got from the place of production to your kitchen.
  • Take your child to a farm or train station for a first-hand look at some of the things and places shown in the DVD.
  1. About.com
  2. Parenting
  3. Kids' Movies & TV
  4. Educational DVDs
  5. Educational DVDs - Alpha
  6. The Busy Little Engine
  7. The Busy Little Engine - DVD Review

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.