Edward the Blue Engine – Rev. W Awdry

More in the Series – The Railway Series
“More in the Series” scores the other books in a series where one (or more) of the books have made it into the 1001 Books list. Mostly because I’m a bit of a completionist. 

POINTS: 1 out of 10.

Bechdel: 0 point
Variety of characters: 0 points
Good story:  1 point
Discretionary ideological points: 0 points.

Well, in many ways, this is more of the same. No female characters. No people of colour. Just white British men and vehicles with white British characters as far as the eye can see.

I have a weird soft spot for Trevor the old tractor, and this book is his first appearance. I think I like him because he is saved from scrap, and because I have a soft spot for those actual machines in the world (I blame my farm-girl upbringing), and also because his favourite thing in the whole world is to give kids rides around the grounds of the vicarage, and I like people who give kids their time.

Edward, who the book is ostensibly about, (he saves Trevor by bringing him to the vicar’s attention) is also one of the better engines, character-wise. He tends towards good-natured and genuinely helpful (not sycophantly so, which most of them are). He seems to take genuine pleasure in doing a good job, just for its own sake, and has less inclination to get pouty and arrogant. There really is no job too small for Edward – he just gets on with it. And on that level, this book is better than most of them.

But all the stuff about these books is still there – the weird class issues, the total absence of anyone who isn’t a white man, the uncomfortable master-slave relationship between the engines and the Fat Controller.

C gave this a thumbs up, but it felt a bit like that was just habit on his part. He definitely wasn’t that focussed when I was reading it. Maybe – could it be? – he’s outgrowing these books, finally!

In any case, nothing special. If you can avoid it (and the series in general), I’d say do so.

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