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The Little Engine That Could


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"I think I can. I think I can. I think I can!"

This is the proclamation of the Little Engine that Could. And like all good things in life earned with hard work, I have built this set with that mantra in mind. Keep working hard, keep pushing up that hill and stay focused. Recently a friend gave to my newborn daughter a copy of this timeless classic. One day this past December, feeling overwhelmed with the pressures of work, life and the world getting crazier everyday, I sat my daughter on my lap and started to read the Little Engine That Could. It was…let’s just say, an emotional experience. 

The Little Engine That Could was made widely popular in the United States when it was published in 1930 by Platt and Monk. It was written by Watty Piper, the pen name for Arnold Monk the owner of Platt and Monk. The illustrations I mainly based my design on was the version that was familiar to me as a child, the 1954 publications with illustrations by Lois Lenski. For more interesting information about the history of the Little Engine, check out this website:

So this LEGO set is special. My wife and I so incredibly lucky to have a healthy child. But what if that weren't the case? Though I set out to design a set for my daughter, I realized I'm making this for all children and their parents who might need the encouragement of The Little Engine That Could. 

Today the book has been republished with fantastic illustrations by Loren Long. 

I have felt a passion for this project that I haven’t had in a long time. I felt like I had to complete it and as soon as possible. And for the last month I couldn't help myself and have devoted every spare minute to making this design come together. 

But it's a work in progress. I still need to build it and there are many things I would tweak about it. I may do a version for in the "Loren Long style" and certainly, things will change about the design. What I've come to admire about LEGO Ideas is the flexibility designers have in their work. I wanted to present this project as a complete finished set, but it will take me a few more weeks to actually get the pieces ordered, shipped and then actually build it. But I did my best with POV Ray and I hope you all enjoy this set very much!


- David Santopietro, January 18, 2017 

ps. working on more images to show off the detail of each car, the toys and the 7 minifigs (plus 1 monkey, and two different teddy bears) that will come with it! 

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