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Thomas & Friends: The Thomas Way
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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.
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?
For kids who love preschool tales
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