Thomas' Big Storybook Book Poster Image

Thomas' Big Storybook

(i)

 

Collected adventures full of lessons and products.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Hard work and good manners are valued. However, sexism abounds, as all of the engines are male and only a couple of minor cars have female names.

Violence & scariness

No real violence, but quite a bit of cartoon teasing and petty competition amongst the various train characters.

Language

Some trains are called liars and told to "shut up." Others are called stupid or silly.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that nothing really objectionable as far as sex or violence is presented in these stories, which are more lessons than well-developed narratives. Some of the lessons are heavy-handed. The trains don't always speak to each other in an admirable way, and it's a shame that there aren't more female characters. This series also quite visibly promotes Thomas the Train products.

Kids say

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What's the story?

Each of the 24 different stories in this book tells a tale starring either Thomas or the various engines who are his friends or work mates. The engines have adventures around the train yard and out on the tracks around the Island of Sodor that teach them lessons.

For example, Thomas learns that he doesn't have to tease to feel important and that he'll do a better job if he's patient; Henry learns that he needs to keep doing his job even though the rain might hurt his paint; James learns that looks aren't everything. All of the engines learn that it's important to work hard at the jobs they're given and to get along with one another.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

Thomas and his friends learn valuable lessons during their many adventures in this exciting "big storybook," which gathers 24 stories into one collection. Thomas first-timers may find the stories confusing and disjointed. Also, girls will have a harder time relating, since all of the engines are male; the two coaches that Thomas pulls -- Anna and Clarabel, who "run happily behind" him -- are the only female characters in the entire book.

That said, some of the language is clever, especially the repetitive phrasing that sounds like the chugging of a train. Every page is illustrated with photographs of model railroad scenes, which are intriguing and complex and give readers lots to look at. Of course, all of these engines, coaches, buses, cars, and other paraphernalia are available for purchase. No one can argue that the obvious lessons are positive, but readers should be conscious of the sexism and commercialism throughout.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the lessons Thomas and his fellow trains learn, the arguments they have, and the tricks they play on one another. They can also talk about the types of trains and parts of locomotives, as well as the kinds of jobs people do on trains. Kids and parents will learn quite a bit of train vocabulary, such as "couplers," "turntables," and "buffers." Families might want to visit a railroad museum, ride on a real train, or start building a model train collection.

Book details

Author:W. Rev Awdry
Illustrator:David Mitton
Genre:Picture Book
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Random House
Publication date:September 26, 2006
Number of pages:185

This review of Thomas' Big Storybook was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent of a 6, 15, and 16 year old Written byghostfacekillah April 17, 2011
My kids loved that show
What other families should know
Great role models

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