What book about a train did Maniac read to Grayson in "Maniac Magee"?What was the name of it?

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Maniac actually uses the children's classic "The Little Engine That Could" to teach Grayson to read.  It is the story of a little engine who pulls a long train all the way up a steep hill through sheer effort and perseverence.  No one thinks the engine can do it, but he does, telling himself "I think I can, I think I can" as he doggedly struggles the whole way up the hill.

The story of "The Little Engine That Could" presents a parallel to Grayson's determination to learn to read.  As a child, Grayson had "parents who were drunk a lot and always leaving him on his own", and teachers who gave up on him, believing that he would "never learn to read a stop sign".  Discouraged and resentful, "he stopped trying...right then and there", and never did learn to read.  Now, as an aging, homeless man, the odds of Grayson overcoming his lifelong handicap of illiteracy are slim, but through hard work and determination, and with Maniac to coach him and believe in him, Grayson, like the "Little Engine That Could", perseveres, and before he knows it, he is "nailing those vowels on the button, riding them from consonant to consonant, syllable to syllable, word to word".  Grayson, at a ripe old age, defies expectations and learns to read, and fittingly, the first book that he reads "cover to cover" is "The Little Engine That Could" (Chapter 27-28).