Thomas the Tank Engine – Rev. W. Awdry

POINTS: 2 out of 10.

Bechdel: Nope
Variety of characters: 0 points
Good story: 1 point. C gave it a thumbs up. I didn’t.
Discretionary ideological points: 1 point.

Thomas the Tank Engine was the second book in Rev. Awdry’s series, but is undoubtedly the most iconic. Thomas became the lead character in the franchise that followed, and is more or less instantly recognisable around the world. It’s hard to look at it without taking all of that into account, but here goes.

Needless to say, given what I disclosed yesterday about my child’s obsession with all things Tank Engine, it got the thumbs up from him. Again though, I have to decline. At least this book has a little more action in it than the previous one, which was really quite dull. This one has an engine (James, who would also become a staple character) with his brakes on fire! And Thomas rushes off to the rescue!

Again, there are no female characters or any characters not apparently white cis-males. so zero points in that regard. Again the ideology can be summed up with “work hard and do what you’re told” which is a mixed bag at best. Thomas doesn’t listen and nearly gets pushed right off the rails by the “troublesome trucks”. I’m not a big fan of blind obedience, so, even though there are good reasons for what he’s told, I’m a bit iffy about the way it’s framed. Still, I can’t fault the work hard ethic, I suppose.

Much like the previous book, I find this one less than scintillating, but my child loves it, and I have read it approximately five bajillion times. (Shut up, that’s totally a real number. Ask any parent. 😉 )

What do you think? Does Thomas deserve the hype? Do you have a better suggestion?

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