Thursday, 7 August 2014

Book Review: Thomas & Friends Story Time Collection


-Little Engines Can Do Big Things
- The Special Delivery
- Down at The Docks
- Thomas and the Naughty Diesel
- The Monster Under the Shed
- Lost at Sea
- Thomas Gets a Snowplough
- Danger at the Dieselworks
- Calling All Engines
- Diesel 10 Means Trouble
- Thomas-suraus Rex
- The Lost Crown of Sodor
- Risky Rails

Tommy Stubbs
Richard Courtney
Coatimundi Studios

Release Date

I'm not a big collector when it comes to the books from Random House, I do have some books published by them and they have fantastic illustrations by Tommy Stubbs. But this has to be the best book that Random House has released this year. There are thirteen books that have been published since 2000, amazing that Random House went through there archives and republished there previous books for a young audience to enjoy. 

I remember when they've released the Magic Railroad books back in 2000 here in Australia and two of those were of course 'Little Engines Can Do Big Things' and 'Diesel 10 Means Trouble', there were other Random House books released in Australia when I was younger, particularly the photo books such as 'Trouble for Thomas and Other Stories'. I was on Amazon US for 'Diesel 10 Means Trouble' and was met by harsh criticisms about Diesel 10 from parents plus the word 'hate' being a harsh word. These reviews date back from 2005-2013 so these parents wouldn't even know about 'Thomas and the Magic Railroad', despite a pathetic children's movie, they would only know that Diesel 10 was from 'Calling All Engines!', pretty much at the time when some of the writers of the series had changed the characterisation of the engines. I understand that everyone has an opinion and I respect that, but most of these criticisms contain such amount of flaws that weren't well researched. First off, the book was published in the year 2000 in promotion of 'Thomas and The Magic Railroad' and Diesel 10 was a very different character back then, a Hollywood style villain. Other villains like Scar from 'The Lion King' shows that characterisation as well, although done in a proper manner. Plus this was an adaptation of the movie so the story is suppose to be short, if you don't understand it watch the movie, most likely on the internet. As of the word 'hate' being strong there are more harsher words out there that kids shouldn't hear and sometimes those words can come from the parents themselves so don't blame a book if your children hear any harsh words, I think children should not be wrapped in wool all the time, there are lots of things out there that children should not know but there comes a time were you have to let them understand that realistic side of the world. I will say the book is an OK adaptation of the movie, despite its ridiculousness,  the illustrations are wonderful and recreated the character design so well, plus there were some stuff from the original script. Instead of D10 'coming back' to find Lady, he was a new engine that was sent to help the other engines. Plus the claw was to come out from his roof, which maybe ridiculous, but it makes for realistic sense. 

Some of the books are short adaptations from the DVD specials (Calling All Engines!, King of The Railway, Day of The Diesels and Blue Mountain Mystery) though I have to say the illustration of Sodor from CAE! looks more like a bland and lack of effort Trainz route and I understand that 'Thomas and the Evil Diesel' has unrealistic illustrations too, and it does. The only update they did for the book was the cover, that was revealed on Amazon back in late 2013. I would't mind of Random House gets Timothy Stubbs to recreate the entire book to fit with todays audience, however I prefer the Christopher Awdry book, which was the adaptation. The criticism I have when it comes to the CGI adaptations is that in books like BMM and KOTR, it shows characters like TFC and Sir Robert in their CGI appearance, respectively, and the people of Sodor in the Tommy Stubbs illustrations, it seems very out of place in my opinion. 

I understand that some of the younger fans think of Stepney as one of the Fat Controller's engines, when in reality and in the Railway Series books, he's owned and maintained by the Bluebell Railway in Sussex, England. Which is why I hate how they called him 'the oldest engine on Sodor'. 'Thomas-suras Rex' didn't tarnish his characterisation, but I wish Random House at the time researched before making the book. It could've gone to a different character such as Oliver. Plus I have to say the Gordon and James criticising Stepney is pretty much out of there character as they have great respect towards Stepney in the television series and Railway Series books. 

I will say in the end, it's a great book and for fans who may have grown up with some of these stories. It brings back some nostalgic memories. 

Rating: 7/10