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Parent reviews for Thomas & Friends

Common Sense says

Thomas and his train friends huff and chuff around.
Based on our expert review

Parents say

age 5+
Based on 37 reviews

Kids say

age 4+
Based on 36 reviews
Parent of a 2 and 4 year old Written byreedsmom March 20, 2009

What's up with the RUDE Thomas Shows?

My son has been watching Thomas since he was 2, he has an obsession with Thomas the Tank toys, shows, movies, anything to do with it. At a certain point I had to take away all the video watching as it came to my attention that the engines are all very RUDE to each other most of the time. Occasionally there is a decent message, but the focus is mostly on the rude behavior and my son started imitating it!!!! Recently I brought the shows back out, this time trying to fast forward through the unacceptable episodes, but I had to cut it off when an episode from the Halloween DVD featuring the "trouble trucks" (my son's favorite!) the first word of the show is "Shut Up!" and the engine named Duck bashes into a bunch of trouble trucks! I was shocked and turned it off immediately! What a horrible thing for a children's show! They blame each other for things, I'm so disappointed. Why is there not more talk about this? What's more is that while he was playing with his trains yesterday he acted out the scene and I heard him say "shut up!". Now I have to explain to him that that is not a nice thing to say and he is confused as to why..."but Duck said that" he looks at my confused. [email protected]#!
Adult Written bylorildixon April 9, 2008

An excellent series for children

Currently Thomas only comes on PBS, in my area, once a week. Thankfully we own several videos also. With all of the junk shows out there, we are so glad to have Thomas available. My two year old and my five year old both love Thomas. They also love to 'read' the books and play with the trains. It is fine that the trains get cross with one another and such. We protect our children from being around mean or rude people and this is a great opportunity to explain to our children that not everyone is always nice. Some are grumpy and trouble makers. On Thomas, they work it out. Sometimes the trains persevere difficult things to get the job done. Sometimes they say something rude to someone then end up having to rely on that train to help them out. This series shows children how to get along with others (even when its tough) and many other social situations.
Parent of a 2 year old Written byShawnaLanne January 24, 2009

Behavioral Modeling - Yeah it models all the bad things

I began watching this with my son just before he turned 2 and quickly turned it off. Yes, there is behavioral modeling, and trains who are acting 'badly' always get it in the end and learn a lesson, but along with the lesson they learn, I believe it's also teaches bad behavior with examples of jealousy and envy and plain old mean spiritidness. I know this has a big following, and it is age appropriate, but I don't want my son modeling his behavior on these trains.
Adult Written byMayra16SP April 9, 2008

My son's favorite train!

Ever since my son has gotten his hands on a Thomas train set, he hasn't looked back. He has the DVD's, PC programs and many additions to the train set and only because he loves the stories behind this friendly train and the Island of Sodor. It's a wonderful program. Very educational in which it teaches children the lessons of being polite and having manners among other educational lessons. There are very few programs out there which can keep my son's attention for such a long time but this show has managed to that and much more. I recommend any little child to enjoy the wonders of this entertaining Train and his friends.
Adult Written byRockoWallaby September 9, 2011

How reliable is the Sodor Railway?

I'll admit I was a fan of the show but looking at most of the episodes from then to present day, there is one thing that irks me: the constant violence. Nearly one train per episode comes off the rails or has an accident and EVERY time, and I quote, "luckily no one was hurt". What gives? Sir Topham Hatt is not at his best, seeing as how nothing is done to prevent accidents. Come to think of it, what about the engineers? Sure they perform their usual duties but ultimately fail to keep their engine on the tracks. How large is the Island of Sodor anyway? Nearly every new special that comes out expands the territory and adds yet another "forgotten" engine to the show's cast that eventually becomes forgotten again after a few years.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Adult Written bychellemomof2 April 9, 2008

My son LOVES this show!

My son is in love with trains and this show gives him the chance to learn about what a train really does. The only problem is they only show it on the weekends!
Parent of a 1, 9, 10, 14, and 14 year old Written bycharmsmatuts August 15, 2011

Thomas The Tank Engine

This show is still good for my 1 year old, I wish I could rate it ON for kids 1 & up. In one episode this is a little superising but in Diesel said "Shut up" to Thomas. It's not a bad word, not really language my kids can't use. But It's just kind of rude to say to somebody. Anyway I used to love trains when I was a kid so I am glad they made a show with trains that talk and go on amazing adventures, All characters are good role models even though they are sometimes grumpy, cranky and mean like Cranky the Crane. It's not just the trains that talk. All kinds of machines like cranes, trains, cars, buses, planes, boats and helicopters talk because they have faces on any part of the object that has a lot of space. Some trains get into exploasions, accidents or crashes which is the only thing to watch out for. Anyway. It has a really good messgage and it's educational. Love It!

This title contains:

Educational Value
Positive Messages
Positive role models
Violence & scariness
Parent of a 5 year old Written byomommie June 9, 2009
Sons fave show since he was 2 1/2.
Adult Written byJohnD 4 May 13, 2015

In praise of Thomas

I don't agree with the 'liberal parents' view at all. You could just as well say that the stories celebrate the useful results of working class solidarity and communality, quite often triumphing over oppression and misfortune. The stories are stimulating and positive, and their basic morality is not to be sneered at unless there is something seriously wrong with you.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Adult Written byLowe's man October 5, 2014

Teaches life lessons to the very young; highly recommended.

I will admit that I haven't seen this show since the 90s, when it was part of SHINING TIME STATION. Even then, I only watched occasionally- just enough to get a feel for the characters. Having said that, this is a cut above many other shows for preschoolers. For one thing, all the trains have facial expressions, allowing kids to see what various emotions look like. Moreover, Sir Topham Hat rewards good behavior and scolds- and if I remember right, punishes- bad behavior. He expects nothing but the best from each train. This series teaches life lessons, such as teamwork, cooperation and getting along, to the very young, and does so in an age-appropriate manner. For the sake of children, complete seasons need to be on DVD. As for what you said about this being a male-centric series, it is true that all the trains were initially male while all the passenger cars were female. One parent rightly felt that this gave girls the message that they're less important than boys and complained about it. In response female trains were added, which was a good thing. This shows how much more responsive the producers of this show were and are to complaints, compared to the producers of many other shows.
Parent of a 2 and 6 year old Written bydebflinch January 16, 2012

The toys are great, the show leaves a lot of be desired

It is not educational. The trains are whiny, bossy, and mostly cross. There are positive messages but kids are not going to get it because of the negativity. The trains are nasty to each other and consistently make poor choices. The language is rough and rude. Only occasionally do my kids watch this and typically they walk away mid-show. The toys are fantastic though and they have lots of fun playing with them. They use their imaginations and have a great time playing with the trains and tracks.

This title contains:

Adult Written byZoso September 8, 2010

5 and up for the RWS. No one for the current series.

Listen reedsmom Did you actually watch the bit and get the message, Duck was defending a character he did not get along with from abuse, you should have watched the scene, and understood the reasons for this. Now you have basically told your son to ingore another person's suffering for the sake of self preservation. Anyway the current series in my opinion is an insult to the brand. It promote's bullying (The action's of the Logging loco's on misty island), and and a sense of defiance to authorty figure's. It's also massively unrelistic. Don't let your kid's watch this, instead buy them a Season 1-5 DVD or some of the Railway series book's written by The rev w awdry. They are far more edcutional and carry better value's.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Privacy & Safety
Adult Written byKSRB3114 July 17, 2015


I never liked this blue engine or any of the engines for that matter. My daughter gets bored after watching this for more than a few minutes. Not a lot of singing, except the British kids and a song stuck in the middle of the episodes. The engines are really crappy to each other and always seem to mess things up, with only a scolding from Toppham Hatt. Speaking of which, I have always wondered why he is still in charge of the railways...its good if your kids are into trains and slow moving shows, but dont expect to learn many life lessons.
Adult Written byalay13 January 4, 2013

Thomas is a Poor Role Model

Awful awful role models. Lots of nasty competitiveness between the trains, Thomas (and others) frequently shirk their responsibilities to compete against each other or to show off. Thomas never seems to learn a single lesson.
Parent Written bywowirmie November 1, 2013

Can teach them negative behaviours

While there is a lot to learn, the stories are generally about the engines deciding to not do what they are told, getting into trouble, then deciding to do what they were told in the first place. The biggest lesson my son got from this show was that people get 'cross' and he now uses that term instead of 'mad'.
Adult Written byScout H. August 18, 2016

Not educational!

My 3.5 year old step son would watch this all day every day with his mom, so when he came to my house, I allowed him to watch one episode a day with my two year old. I sat down with them one day to watch it and realized that this show doesn't teach them anything. They don't focus in colors, letters, language, or anything. The only thing it maybe does is teach behavior, but even then many of the characters are very rude to each other. He is 3.5 and can't say a single word except choo choo, so I know that him watching the show all day with her hasn't taught him anything either. The characters are cute, but not what I would let my children watch again.
Parent of a 3 year old Written bySachertorte October 26, 2010
I absolutely despise Thomas. To me, every show is nothing but one long commercial for Thomas stuff. The engines are rude, and the entire show is slow moving and uninteresting.

This title contains:

Adult Written byJoes31 August 12, 2016

It's really good for children,but when you get older it's TERRIBLE

It's a cute show but their's ALOT Of Crashes

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Adult Written byTimTheTVGuy October 22, 2012

Good for little kids,but boring as math.

Even when I was little,I never liked Thomas the Tank Engine.I would always roll my eyes when I watched it.It bored me a lot.
Parent of a 18+ year old Written byOlivia M. May 25, 2018

Thomas tried hard, but failed to protect Mother Nature

This show promotes Environmental ABUSE!!!!!! The burning of coal causes many environmental dangers!! Burning coal has many dangers, which are including but not LIMITED TO: Acid mine drainage (AMD) refers to the outflow of acidic water from coal mines or metal mines, often abandoned mines where ore- or coal mining activities have exposed rocks containing the sulphur-bearing mineral pyrite. Pyrite reacts with air and water to form sulphuric acid and dissolved iron, and as water washes through mines, this compound forms a dilute acid, which can wash into nearby rivers and streams. Air pollution from coal-fired power plants includes sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter (PM), and heavy metals, leading to smog, acid rain, toxins in the environment, and numerous respiratory, cardiovascular, and cerebrovascular effects. Air pollution from coal mines is mainly due to emissions of particulate matter and gases including methane (CH4), sulfur dioxide (SO2), and nitrogen oxides (NOx), as well as carbon monoxide (CO). Climate impacts of coal plants - Coal-fired power plants are responsible for one-third of America’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, making coal a huge contributor to global warming. Black carbon resulting from incomplete combustion is an additional contributor to climate change. Coal dust stirred up during the mining process, as well as released during coal transport, which can cause severe and potentially deadly respiratory problems. Coal fires occur in both abandoned coal mines and coal waste piles. Internationally, thousands of underground coal fires are burning now. Global coal fire emissions are estimated to include 40 tons of mercury going into the atmosphere annually, and three percent of the world's annual carbon dioxide emissions. Coal combustion waste is the nation's second largest waste stream after municipal solid waste.[9] It is disposed of in landfills or "surface impoundments," which are lined with compacted clay soil, a plastic sheet, or both. As rain filters through the toxic ash pits year after year, the toxic metals are leached out into the local environment. Coal sludge, also known as slurry, is the liquid coal waste generated by washing coal. It is typically disposed of at impoundments located near coal mines, but in some cases it is directly injected into abandoned underground mines. Since coal sludge contains toxins, leaks or spills can endanger underground and surface waters. Floods such as the Buffalo Creek Flood caused by mountaintop removal mining and failures of coal mine impoundments. Forest destruction caused by mountaintop removal mining - According to a 2010 study, mountaintop removal mining has destroyed 6.8% of Appalachia's forests. Greenhouse gas emissions caused by surface mining - According to a 2010 study, mountaintop removal mining releases large amounts of carbon through clearcutting and burning of trees and through releases of carbon in soil brought to the surface by mining operations. These greenhouse gas emissions amount to at least 7% of conventional power plant emissions. Loss or degradation of groundwater - Since coal seams are often serve as underground aquifers, removal of coal beds may result in drastic changes in hydrology after mining has been completed. Radical disturbance of 8.4 million acres of farmland, rangeland, and forests, most of which has not been reclaimed -- See The footprint of coal Heavy metals and coal - Coal contains many heavy metals, as it is created through compressed organic matter containing virtually every element in the periodic table - mainly carbon, but also heavy metals. The heavy metal content of coal varies by coal seam and geographic region. Small amounts of heavy metals can be necessary for health, but too much may cause acute or chronic toxicity (poisoning). Many of the heavy metals released in the mining and burning of coal are environmentally and biologically toxic elements, such as lead, mercury, nickel, tin, cadmium, antimony, and arsenic, as well as radio isotopes of thorium and strontium. Mercury and coal - Emissions from coal-fired power plants are the largest source of mercury in the United States, accounting for about 41 percent (48 tons in 1999) of industrial releases. Methane released by coal mining accounts for about 10 percent of US releases of methane (CH4), a potent global warming gas. Mountaintop removal mining and other forms of surface mining can lead to the drastic alteration of landscapes, destruction of habitat, damages to water supplies, and air pollution. Not all of these effects can be adequately addressed through coal mine reclamation. Particulates and coal - Particulate matter (PM) includes the tiny particles of fly ash and dust that are expelled from coal-burning power plants. Studies have shown that exposure to particulate matter is related to an increase of respiratory and cardiac mortality. Radioactivity and coal - Coal contains minor amounts of the radioactive elements, uranium and thorium. When coal is burned, the fly ash contains uranium and thorium "at up to 10 times their original levels." Subsidence - Land subsidence may occur after any type of underground mining, but it is particularly common in the case of longwall mining. Sulfur dioxide and coal - Coal-fired power plants are the largest human-caused source of sulfur dioxide, a pollutant gas that contributes to the production of acid rain and causes significant health problems. Coal naturally contains sulfur, and when coal is burned, the sulfur combines with oxygen to form sulfur oxides. Thermal pollution from coal plants is the degradation of water quality by power plants and industrial manufacturers - when water used as a coolant is returned to the natural environment at a higher temperature, the change in temperature impacts organisms by decreasing oxygen supply, and affecting ecosystem composition. Toxins - According to a July 2011 NRDC report, "How Power Plants Contaminate Our Air and States" electricity generation in the U.S. releases 381,740,601 lbs. of toxic air pollution annually, or 49% of total national emissions, based on data from the EPA’s Toxic Release Inventory (2009 data, accessed June 2011). Power plants are the leading sources of toxic air pollution in all but four of the top 20 states by electric sector emissions. Transportation - Coal is often transported via trucks, railroads, and large cargo ships, which release air pollution such as soot and can lead to disasters that ruin the environment, such as the Shen Neng 1 coal carrier collision with the Great Barrier Reef, Australia that occurred in April 2010. Waste coal, also known as "culm," "gob," or "boney," is made up of unused coal mixed with soil and rock from previous mining operations. Runoff from waste coal sites can pollute local water supplies. Water consumption from coal plants - Power generation has been estimated to be second only to agriculture in being the largest domestic user of water. Water pollution from coal includes the negative health and environmental effects from the mining, processing, burning, and waste storage of coal.

This title contains:

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking