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Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Hiro - Thomas and Friends

Based on The Railway Series by the Rev.W.Awdry
Illustrations: Robin Davies
Publisher: Egmont, 2010

I'm afraid I don't have the will power to write much; I've included this title on my 'celebration' of Children's Literature blog under duress! 
I thought my days of having to read titles from this cheap and dull modernisation of The Thomas the Tank Engine series were over, but then tonight, George, my toddler, came bounding in with 'Thomas!' (the generic name for all engine related literature). What I can say in the series' favour though, each book is a guaranteed adult sleep inducer! These are the only books in British Literature that I am physically able to read, while mentally switching off. This state of 'reading auto pilot' has its benefits- its like having a nanny attend the children while you ( Internet ) shop- lovely! 

Another positive, from a scant supply here- this particular title , 'Hiro', is the very best of a very bad bunch. Hiro is a less precocious snotty engine than all the others, and brings a bit of the vulnerable and mystique to Thomasland (oh sorry, that's just the up-selling theme park, I mean The Isle of Sodor.)
Other notable points, for when your toddler inevitably navigates to these depressingly formulaic Egmont books, the written text is big and clear (so hard to conveniently 'loose your place' and skip once the child can read themselves). The illustrations are notable for the ridiculously sinister expressions, the picture of alarm on the faces of Annie and Clarabel get my toddler going every time, other than that, dull - cheapo computer graphics I think. I think the extensive 50 book series could always double up as a 'baby names' book box set if all else fails, as traditional PC mid 1990s names will surely make a come back again soon, surely?! My particular favourite crowd pleasers are Jack, Spencer and Harvey - surprise surprise, I don't recall the stories! 
And as for Thomas himself, I'm so fed up with him gloating, and being all saccharine. I wish he'd gone off on the wrong track, discovered Hiro and then got himself lost for all eternity in a siding. But turning back to Hiro, 'The Master of the Railway' as he's described over and over in this edition, how can such cultural stereotypes not be condoned? I doubt the Rev W Awdry would approve; I had the misfournate of reading the vintage editions of these...not enough stuffy pomp for his eyes I feel! Yawn, yawn. 

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