The Little Airplane That Could

The Story

The Little Airplane That Could is a creative adaption of the popular children's classic by Watty Piper, The Little Engine That Could. In this adaption, the story centers on two extraordinary show dogs who were scheduled to give a dog show on the other side of the mountain, reachable only by taking an airplane over the peak. As it happens, the dogs' original flight were cancelled! How will they get to their show?

Illustrated in a retro comic book style, The Little Airplane That Could contains rich examples of American Sign Language personifications. This linguistic element is unique to sign languages, in which the storyteller adopts the persona of characters and inanimate objects and takes advantage of cinematic techniques to create an amazing, visually detailed tale.

Credits

  • Project Director: Melissa Malzkuhn
  • Story by: Melissa Malzkuhn and Dr. Benjamin Bahan
  • Storyteller: Benjamin Lewis
  • Video Production: Zilvinas Paludnevicius
  • Early Childhood Literacy Consultants: Dr. Jenny Singleton, Bobbie Jo Kite, and Svenna Pedersen
  • Co-Principal Investigator: Dr. Thomas Allen
  • Co-Principal Investigator and Science Director: Dr. Laura-Ann Petitto

We would like to also acknowledge California School for the Deaf, Fremont and the Kendall Demonstration Elementary School at Clerc Center, for welcoming us to meet with their students to share these stories while in development. Also, many thanks to the families and children who tested this app prior to release! 

Concept sketches by Tim Woodford

Concept sketches by Tim Woodford