Diana Ross : The Little Red Engine gets its Name (1942) : Illustrations by Jan Lewitt and George Him
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© estates of Lewitt & Him
First published by Faber & Faber in 1942
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THE LITTLE
RED ENGINE
GETS A NAME
 STORY by DIANA ROSS
PICTURES by LEWITT-HIM

© estates of Lewitt & Him
"What a funny little engine to be out on the main line, and pulling the King too, and it hasn't even a name!" ...
HOW  ENGINE NO 394 BECAME THE ROYAL RED
 estates of Jan Lewitt and George Him
Pride of the North and Beauty of the South with Engine 394
The LRE gets a Name 1942 © estates of Jan Lewitt and George Him

 
 estates of Jan Lewitt and George Him Engine 394 was a little country engine that worked the branch line from Taddlecombe junction. Unlike the Big Black Engine Pride o' the North and the Big Green Engine Beauty of the South that worked the main line, it was thought too unimportant to be given a name. 
One day it took the King and his entourage to London, and not a minute late. The King said "This Little Red Engine is now a Main Line Engine. You must give it a name and paint it on its side in gold. Call it Royal Red. And add By Special Appointment." 
 estates of Jan Lewitt and George Him
From The LRE gets a Name 1942 © estates of Jan Lewitt and George Him

Diana Ross describes how she came to write the story :  

"...It was not made up entirely out of my head.  About twenty years ago my nephew Johnnie  was a little boy and when he came to see me he always went  straight to the drawer where I kept a little tin, toy engine, The little tin engine that partly inspired the Little Red Engine stories  Antony Andersona rather old fashioned little engine which had something special about it as some toys do. 1 still have it tho' the front wheels have come off. And when I went to visit him 1 would sometimes put him to bed. and he liked to have a story before 1 shut him down. By the side of his house in a deep cutting  runs a little branch line going from Newbury to Lambourn, and it  really is rather like the branch line of the stories although the names are changed. and every time a train went by, and that was about four times a day, it would whistle to tell the porter at Speen station to shut the gate of the level crossing and it is still doing so today. As soon as he heard the whistle, Johnny would run to the window or to the wire fence and wave to the plume of smoke which is all you can see of the train as it goes by. So you can see it was very natural that \ishould tell him a story about the little tin, toy train he loved mixed up with the real train which ran by his house. It is nearly always like that when you write books. Even the fairy tales I have written for you when you are older start off with some quite real thing even tho in the end it all goes different..." 

Diana Ross talking to Australian children in 1956
 estates of Jan Lewitt and George Him
"You must give it a name
and paint it on its sides in Gold"
The Little Red Engine gets a Name was first published by Faber & Faber in 1942. It was illustrated by Jan Lewitt and George Him, both notable graphic designers and for many years in partnership as Lewitt-Him. Subsequent titles, beginning with The Story of the Little Red Engine were illustrated by Leslie Wood.  The Little Red Engine series are now being republished by André Deutsch  in their Classic series. The first titles being republished are: 

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Some LRE Links

Moving Pictures - University of Chicago Magazine June 1994 (Lewitt-Him & Ross/Wood)

John's Page from Australia on  TRAINS  (Adult and Children's Books) 
National Railway Museum York
UK Heritage  Railways (Preserved British Railways)
South Tynedale Railway Alston Cumbria (Daniel Mackintyre) 

 


 

References to The Little Red Engine 

Gregg, A. (1993). The hope of the future: The Kindergarten Union and the campaign for children's libraries in Western Australia. Issues In Educational Research, 3(1), 17-33. 

Newcastle Herald and Post November 1999
 

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These pages prepared for Diana Ross and her family by Antony Anderson October 1999
text © Diana Ross 1999 Ilustrations  © estates of Jan Lewitt and George Him
Web Page Design © Antony Anderson October 1999
Contact: antony.anderson@onyxnet.co.uk