Awdry, Rev. Wilbert "Thomas the Tank Engine" (The Railway Series) - 1945-2011
A favourite book series ion our house has always been the story of the little trains in Wales.
"Thomas the Tank Engine" is a little locomotive that lives on the fictional Island of Sodor in Wales. He has a lot of friends who all have a certain character. First there is Thomas the Tank Engine who is small and blue, he is the cheeky one. Then there is kind and friendly Edward the Blue Engine, snobby Henry the Green Engine, proud and boasting Gordon the Big Engine who is also blue, vain James the Red Engine, and adventurous Percy the Small Engine, all of which could be called main characters. There are at least another half a dozen of other engines and rail cars, and then there are a lot of coaches, passenger cars and also some other non-rail vehicles like Terence the Tractor, Bertie the Bus and Harold the Helicopter.
Together, they are employed to run the railway line on the island. The Fat Controller (Sir Topham Hat in the States) is one of the few humans that appear in almost every story, you might say he's an honorary train.
Every story tells us about the specific engine and what they go through in their daily lives. Accidents happen that are mostly funny, the trains behave quite human.
Even though the Reverend Wilbert Awdry only wrote 26 books, the stories were continued by his son Christopher for whom they were first written. There are now 42 books in this series but Thomas still is by far the most famous one.
Our favourite ones were:
Henry the Green Engine
The Three Railway Engines
Thomas the Tank Engine
James the Red Engine
Toby the Tram Engine
Gordon the Big Engine
Edward the Blue Engine
Four Little Engines
Percy the Small Engine
Duck and the Diesel Engine
James and the Diesel
Gordon the High-Speed Engine
Toby, Trucks and Trouble
Thomas and the Twins
Thomas and the Great Railway Show
Thomas Comes Home
Henry and the Express
Thomas and his Friends
In the meantime, Thomas has not only become famous through his books, there is a television series (narrated partly by the famous Beatle Ringo Starr with his cute Scouse accent), a movie, and all kinds of different toys for any child to enjoy. When we were in Wales, we even had a train ride with Thomas.
Thomas has certainly brought a lot of good times and laughter to our house and will continue doing to millions of other homes with little children, I am sure.
From the back cover:
"Since the publication of the original 'Thomas the Tank Engine' in 1946, millions of children and their parents all over the world have loved this series of bedtime stories about Thomas and his friends."