Thomas & Friends: The Thomas Way

Movie review by
Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media
Thomas & Friends: The Thomas Way Movie Poster Image
Train pals learn teamwork, responsibility in gentle tales.
  • G
  • 2013
  • 58 minutes

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Kids say

age 2+
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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Children can learn about all the jobs trains do, about the many sounds associated with trains, and the Thomas franchise's specialty: responsibility and teamwork.

Positive Messages

Thomas and all the other engines work hard, obey authority, and try their best to be "really useful engines." They learn from their mistakes and their travails assure children that mistakes are made by us all.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Thomas and his friends Percy, Caitlin, Paxton, Millie, and others all stumble in their efforts to please Sir Topham Hat. But they try to work hard, and they try to be loyal, considerate, and responsible, even when being silly and losing focus would be more fun. At the same time, while Topham Hat is strict and scolding, he also is kind and forgiving when his engines show remorse and do good work.

Violence & Scariness

Some trains go off the rails, bump into each other, or carry overlarge loads too high and wide for tunnels. No one gets seriously hurt.

Sexy Stuff

Thomas & Friends is a commercial franchise offering toys, clothing, books, and videos. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Thomas & Friends: The Thomas Way is another entry in the Thomas series for young children. The earnest, hardworking, and fun-loving trains have adventures and learn lessons about responsibility, teamwork, loyalty, keeping promises, and helping those in need. Their highest goal is to qualify as "really useful engines," a favorite accolade offered by their boss, Sir Topham Hat. Some trains go off the rails, bump into each other, or carry overlarge loads too high and wide for tunnels, but no one gets seriously hurt. The DVD is part of a large commercial enterprise including children's clothing, toys, and books.  

User Reviews

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Kid, 9 years old January 17, 2015

What's the story?

This DVD features five short segments showcasing friends of Thomas -- Percy, Caitlin, Paxton, Mimi, Harold, Dick, and others -- working hard to please the boss, the strict but fair Sir Topham Hat. In one typical adventure, Luke and MiIlie switch jobs, learning that the speed necessary to perform one job well can be a drawback for the other job.  

Is it any good?

The narrator and most of the characters speak extremely slowly so small ears can understand every word in this enjoyable collection of Thomas & Friends stories. The Thomas franchise has been teaching small children about consideration, responsibility, and obeying authority figures successfully for a long time. Children who identify with the friendly Thomas and his cohorts are warned against carelessness, silliness, and "causing confusion and delay," as Sir Topham Hat likes to put it. The engines grin with pride when told they are "really useful." To gain that accolade, they do their best to follow rules and get permission, which is just what most parents want their toddlers to do before launching into any adventures of their own. Children are reassured as the engines make mistakes in every episode. As they learn from those missteps, the stern but benevolent Sir Topham Hat -- the parental stand-in -- always forgives the errant engines. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Paxton's "silliness," which also could be seen as irresponsibility. Thomas wanted to be silly, too, to join in the fun, and that caused an accident. Why do you think Paxton left the scene of the accident? Was he afraid of being blamed? Should he have stayed?

  • Thomas tricks Duck into veering off-course so Harold the Helicopter can enjoy a tour of the area. Later, when Thomas tells Duck that he's entering a too-narrow tunnel, why does Duck ignore Thomas' warning? If you get caught telling a lie, will people stop believing you, even if you tell the truth at another time? Why might that happen?

  • Percy believes that his lucky charm has made his day better. Did his good day have anything to do with luck, or did he have a good day because he worked so hard? 

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love preschool tales

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