THESE ARE SOLEY MY OPINIONS AND NOT FROM THE THOMAS & FRIENDS FAN BASE
THOMAS & VICTORIA
Eels on Wheels
Toby's Vintage Train
After a ten year hiatus from Christopher Awdry's last book, 'New Little Engine' in 1996, Egmont had released a brand new volume in the Railway Series in 2007. At this time the company were rereleasing the 1-40 books that year with the demand by fans since 2005 on bringing the books back to the shelves, thanks to Sodor Island Fansite (SiF) at the time. So here are my views on the 41st volume of the Railway Series books.
The story revolves around Toby and Henrietta taking the workmen to the quarry and the dangers of people standing in open end railway carriages. The story also tells kids that for every problem there's always a solution and that was in Thomas' part when they discovered Victoria at the station by the river. Plus this is the first and only time in the books we see Henrietta with a face, which I'm sure was the influence for S18 seven years later.
So we meet Victoria for the first time and learned that she use to work on the Furness Railway, which was Edward's old line before working on the NWR. I believe that it was the first time it had been mentioned in the books. We also meet Albert, an engine that use to work on the Furness Railway. Albert may not have much depth though. All we know he shares the same personality as Thomas, during his young days, when it comes to snow. The story does show kids the dangers of an avalanche in the end. It was nice however to see the Furness Railway through the flashback and how the way it ran in its working days.
EELS ON WHEELS
First time I believe Daisy had a story to herself since 'Thomas Comes Home', which would be 15 years since then at the time this book was published. It's nice to see an engine's understanding of things that is not railway related and it shows the morals to kids that creatures like eels, snakes etc. can be more scared of thing then we are of them.
TOBY'S VINTAGE TRAIN
I think this story was a nice ending towards the book. We see Victoria all restored in good order for her return. Though Terence's part felt a bit forceful for the sake of some suspense and the title can be a bit misleading as the whole 'vintage train' part happened in the end. However it's still a nice story in the end and we see the solution finally in order for Toby and Henrietta.
Looking back at this book, I find it more better then 'Thomas and his Friends'. I find the last book, which I have reviewed back in June, to be weak despite some good stories even though some were rehashes with some development. I believe this should've been the last book for the Reverend's centenary in 2011 as the book have some good quality stories. The illustrations from the book by Clive Spong are great as usual coming from the artist, the pictures here have the Dalby feel with some realistic quality in the picture.