Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Enjoy Thomas the Tank Engine Books, DVDs and Toys

Who is Thomas the Tank Engine?

Are you a Thomas the Tank Engine fan? We all have treasured memories from childhood; memories of our favourite toys and favourite characters from books. One of these fictional characters that remains a perennial favourite with kids is the lovable blue railway engine Thomas the Tank Engine. This popular character was the creation of the Reverend W Awdry in the 1940s who started inventing the stories about railway engines with human faces and human personalities to entertain his son Christopher while he was recovering from scarlet fever. Christopher apparently begged to have these stories retold so many times that the Reverend Awdry started writing them down on scraps of paper and started to sketch pictures of  the various locomotive characters with their different faces and expressions.  The Reverend Awdry’s wife convinced him that his railway engine tales deserved to be read by a wider audience, so he sent them to a distant relative who was a publisher. The result was that his first book ‘The Three Railway Engines’ containing three different stories and illustrations was published in 1945.

Thomas the Tank Engine
Thomas the Tank Engine

However, the iconic Thomas the Tank Engine did not appear on the scene until the second book was published in 1946.  These gentle tales of the life and trials of the railway engines and their friends were so popular that a new book was published every year.  The original illustrations in the early books were all executed by C. Reginald Dalby who adapted the Reverend Awdry’s hastily scribbled drawings into the locomotive characters and based them on real designs of British steam engines of the time.  The railway engine used for the character of Thomas was a little known 0-6-0T Class E2 shunting engine from Victorian times, while the illustrations of Gordon were based on the engine class that contained the altogether more dashing ‘Flying Scotsman’. The family of railway engines grew over time as more characters were added, forever trundling over the railway tracks of the mythical Island of Sodor and being overseen by the imposing Fat Controller.

Thomas the Tank Engine Books

The Rev. W Awdry continued to write books about the adventures of Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends in his Railway Series until 1972.  All of these books were beautifully illustrated and designed so that they could comfortably fit into small children’s hands, be easy to read and be simple to turn the pages over.  The Rev. Awdry’s son Christopher took over from his father and started writing new tales in 1983. To add to these children’s books there are now Thomas the Tank Engine Annuals published yearly and other Thomas and Friends picture and pop-up books that have been published.  This lovable train even features in his very own comic.  The books are just as popular with kids today as they were in the 1940s and 50s and one of the easiest ways to find them is online. There are collections of the Thomas the Tank Engine stories, the individual railway tales, special anniversary editions, ABC books and many more.  These kids books make great gifts and if you know a child who is collecting them, why not get them the next one in the series for their birthday or Christmas present?  Also, little girls love Thomas the Tank Engine as much as the boys do, so one of these books makes the perfect stocking filler for your daughters and young relatives.

Thomas the Tank Engine on TV and Thomas & Friends DVDs

As the fame and popularity of Thomas the Tank Engine grew, it was almost inevitable that he would end up starring in his very own TV show. Originally called Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends, this new TV show for kids was first aired in Britain on ITV in 1984. The name of the TV show was changed for Series 7 in 2003 to Thomas & Friends.  The TV show also proved popular in the United States, and both in the US and in the UK has attracted some high profile celebrity narrators including Ringo Starr, Alec Baldwin, Michael Angelis and Pierce Brosnan. He also starred on the big screen when his movie ‘Thomas and the Magic Railroad’ was released in 2000.  Inevitably, Thomas’s adventures on screen have migrated onto video and DVD and you can now watch the tales of Thomas and Friends with your kids at home.  These DVDs make great gifts and if your kids get bored in the school holidays or on long journeys, why not get some to while away the time? Online is a good place to look for, so have a browse today and find your child’s favourite story on DVD.

Thomas & Friends Toys, Games and Puzzles

The huge popularity of the books and the Thomas & Friends TV showed, led to an explosion in merchandise of all kinds.  For kids there is now literally hundreds of toys, games and puzzles featuring your favourite train that you can buy. One of the best selling toys is the Thomas the Tank Engine Wooden Railway.  This is a toy that is especially recommended for very young children as it is very easy to put together and the wooden railway engine moves smoothly round the tracks. It is also sturdily built, so it is not easy to break.  You can get all of the railway locomotive characters separately, including Thomas, Percy, Salty, Gordon and Toby the Tram Engine and also wooden train tracks and accessories packs. Everything you need, in fact, to have your very own Thomas the Tank Engine railway network.  As for other toys, you can get play vehicles, Sit and Rides, jigsaw puzzles, backpacks, stuffed toys, games, fork and spoon sets and even tents.  If your child has been nagging you for a Thomas the Tank Engine themed bedroom it could not be simpler, as you can buy bedding, drapes, pictures and rugs on online. Your kids can even dress-up as Thomas the Tank Engine this Halloween, if they are looking for a more unusual dress-up costume.

So if your kids love Thomas the Tank Engine, you will be able to find them everything that they could want online.  You will find a huge selection of books, DVDs and merchandise, so have a look today and ensure that you order everything Thomas that you want for upcoming birthdays and Christmas presents.

Thomas the Tank Engine image Gemma Longman Wikimedia Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic 

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