Friday, January 04, 2013

Thomas the Tank Engine Collection (1945-1960)

Thomas The Tank Engine Story Collection. The Reverend W. Awdry. (The Railway Series Since 1945). Based On the Railway Series by the Reverend W. Awdry. 2005. Random House. 512 pages.

This story book collection contains fourteen previously published books starring Thomas and his friends. The titles included in the collection: The Three Railway Engines (1945), Thomas the Tank Engine (1946), James the Red Engine (1948), Tank Engine Thomas Again (1949), Troublesome Engines (1950), Henry the Green Engine (1951), Toby the Tram Engine (1952), Gordon the Big Engine (1953), Edward the Blue Engine (1954), Four Little Engines (1955), Percy the Small Engine (1956), The Eight Famous Engines (1957), Duck and the Diesel Engine (1958), The Twin Engines (1960). These were all originally published in the UK.

Each book contains a handful of stories. For example, Gordon the Big Engine contains four stories: "Off the Rails," "Leaves," "Down the Mine," and "Paint Pots and Queens." Henry The Green Engine contains five stories: "Coal," "The Flying Kipper," "Gordon's Whistle," "Percy and the Trousers," and "Henry's Sneeze." Tank Engine Thomas Again contains four stories: "Thomas and the Guard," "Thomas Goes Fishing," "Thomas, Terence, and the Snow," and "Thomas and Bertie."

There were certainly plenty of stories to choose from in this collection. It would have been nice to have an index to each and every story instead of just an index of the picture books. I began the book enthusiastically, appreciating the stories and the little details. By the end of the book, however, I was a bit tired of trains. I liked the writing, for the most part. There were very rhythmic places in the text that felt just right.

A conversation between Thomas, Annie, and Clarabel:
"Why don't you go fast? Why don't you go fast?" called Annie and Clarabel anxiously.
"Wait and see, wait and see," hissed Thomas.
"He's a long way ahead, a long way ahead," they wailed, but Thomas didn't mind. He remembered the crossing. (139)
These stories may have been updated since their initial publication. I've heard that in the original stories, Sir Topham Hatt is just called "The Fat Controller." There is a "complete collection" of Thomas stories now out of print that may be be closer to the original. (It has all twenty-six picture books.)

From "Off the Rails"
 A family of toads croaked crossly at Gordon as he lay in the mud. On the other side of the ditch, some little boys were chattering.
"Gee! Doesn't he look silly!" "They'll never get him out." They began to sing: Silly old Gordon fell in a ditch,
fell in a ditch,
fell in a ditch.
Silly old Gordon fell in a ditch,
all on a Monday morning. (266)
From "Gordon's Whistle"
Gordon was cross.
"Why should Henry have a new shape?" he grumbled. "A shape good enough for me is good enough for him. He goes gallivanting off to Crewe, leaving us to do his work. It's disgraceful!"
"And there's another thing. Henry whistles too much. No respectable engine ever whistles loudly at stations. It isn't wrong," said Gordon, "but we just don't do it." (202-3)
Read Thomas the Tank Engine Story Collection
  • If you have a little one who LOVES Thomas and friends
  • If you have a little train-lover
  • If you are interested in reading classic or vintage picture books
© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Laura's Reviews said...

I picked this book up a couple of years ago at a Day Out with Thomas and my sons LOVE it! It is easily one of their favorite books. It is full of wonderful stories - and you did a great job with your review!

Susan @ Reading World said...

This brings back memories. When my kids were preschoolers, they were addicted to Thomas and his train friends. They're teenagers now. The books we read are more interesting but not as cute!