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Thomas the Tank Engine: The New Collection (Railway Series) Hardcover – 3 Sep 2007
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Taking up where his famous father left off in the 1970s, Christopher Awdry has published a total of 14 storybooks set in the wonderful world of Thomas the Tank Engine. This volume brings them all together for the first time, and adds four new, specially commissioned stories: "Overloaded", "Avalanche", "Eels on Wheels" and "Toby's Vintage Train". The steam age is alive and well on the Island of Sodor!
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But please do not try and buy it through Amazon. Prices here are stupidly high as the book is out of print. I managed to get my copy on ebay for about £15 compared to the almost £130 it is listed for here. Copies don't come up often, but keep checking. You might want to create a followed search so ebay sends you alerts when a new copy is listed.
So this is written by the Rev. Awdry's son and it continues the stories of the ever expanding group on engines on the island of Sodor. My 4 year old is becoming a bit of a Thomas expert (or is that anorak) and he was pointing out to me that there were several references to the original stories, almost in a way validating the authenticity of Mr Awdry Jr.'s storytelling. This was unnecessary and made the stories a little less flowing and autonomous. However, at least they are now in 1970's English, not the 1950's dialogue that the original books are in, which I had to keep paraphrasing when reading to my son, as they were so dated.
If your child liked the original Thomas books, he/she will probably like these although they are not quite as good, they are easier to follow for younger children.
One footnote - the cover has a sticker claiming 4 extra stories are included, THEY ARE NOT! Come on Amazon, sort it out!
So as these stories would have been completely new to most people, what could be expected? Unlike his father's books, there are few new characters to be met in this one, the author instead choosing to develop existing characters. That said, there are some interesting new characters who feature along the way. Readers can find out how James overcomes his dislike of diesels, and what happened when Sir Handel went to work in Wales. Meet Pip and Emma, the High-Speed train, and Jock, an engine who works on the small railway. We meet some real engines when Thomas goes to York, plus see what happens when Henry has to take a train before he's been painted properly!
On the whole, these stories are good, though some lack the brilliance of his father's work. and some do appear to be very slow paced. The author doesn't have an easy job trying to maintain the style of the original author, whilst at the same time trying to make it his own, and in this respect he pulls it off. Some stories are very good, and flow very well, and the author does well to keep the humour set by his father. The final book in this volume, number 41 'Thomas and Victoria' was published on the same day, and now, book number 42 will be out later in 2011.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Absolutely a must if your kid is a Thomas fan.
Truth be told though...the stories themselves are pretty dull, poorly written...and do lack alot of the charm and dry humor that make the first ones so fun.
We simply had to find more stories to read...as the original series has been memorized by everyone in the house.