I began revisiting the Thomas The Tank Engine world in adulthood and started reading articles and forums on the programmes & books I so adored as a child. I wanted to know more about the people behind them. One piece caught my eye about how the Rev Wilbert Awdry came to resent the TV series, and how some of the people behind the TV series couldn't believe Awdry could criticise them after they'd made him `rich'. There seemed to be a lot going on `behind the scenes', so I reserved this book.
I understand that in biographies there's going to be a bit of background; however, do we really need 90 pages of family history? It seems the Awdry family were ones for documenting absolutely everything and so we get stories and poems from his ancestors. Some of these add insight; the majority however seem to have been put in just for the sake of it.
Once it gets going the book does start to pick up: how the books came into being, and how they became so popular; how Wilbert felt about his son taking over as the Railway Series author. Wilbert was essentially forced into writing a book a year, whilst keeping on top of his family and congregation commitments, yet wasn't making a huge commission from the books.
Other topics seem to get almost brushed over: the TV series, which introduced the characters to so many, doesn't really get much of a look in. How did it come into being; how much input did Wilbert have (if any); how did the Reverend feel about eventually losing control of his creation, and not really profiting from the huge financial machine it became? Sadly these questions aren't answered.
It is a decent read, yet though some big questions are answered, some are left unasked. This feels like a real labour of love for Brian Sibley and he is to be commended: this is an interesting insight into the Thomas The Tank Engine Man, let down largely by the masses of family `history', much of which feels like filler