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The Great Race is a book all about Thomas the Tank Engine from the level 1 Step Into Reading series. It costs £2.62 from Amazon which I think is a bargain for a book of this quality. I think this is a great way to get little Thomas fans interested in reading. The book is packed with loads of great, top quality illustrations that Thomas fans will recognise immediately. Thomas, Bertie, Annie and Clarabel all feature in this book with the focus being on Thomas and Bertie (who are of course having, a Great Race). The text is really nice and simple, making this an ideal first reading book for a youngster who's new to reading. I think this is well suited to a child of around four or five years of age. The sentences are short and simple, the text is bold and clear, and the words are kept to a minimum while telling a fun little story. The book tries to repeat words where possible, which is an important way to help kids to remember new words. There's lots of simple variety in here though which makes this a story that keeps moving. I think some kids find overly repetitive books boring, so even though repetition is an important part of helping kids to learn to read, I think it needs to be done in a subtle way - just like this book has managed. The grandson is a huge fan of this book and was really proud of his ability to read a Thomas story almost on his own (or all on his own as he says!). If you've got a reluctant, complete beginner on your hands who's a fan of Thomas, you might well find this is a useful place to start. Just by pointing to each word as you read it, kids can start to pick up the basics.