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My son is Thomas mad so when I came across this book set I snatched it up. We had been purchasing his favourite characters separately for £2.99, so when the book people had this set on sale for £20 I nearly tripped over myself to buy it. In total there are 65 different Thomas books in this set. They are all the medium sized paperbacks that you often see floating around shops for £2.99 a book. The whole set comes in a beautifully decorated presentation box that is split into two sides. This makes it easier to get in and out of the box to choose a book without needing to get them all out. It has a simple lift off lid for each side of the case and the books sit on their side so you can see the numbers 1 -65.
Each book is very bright and attractive with both a picture of the character on the front along with their name. There is no introduction to the book, or any idea as to what is inside until you open it to read it. The only guaranteed thing is that the character on the book will be the star of the story. On the first page of every book the Fat controller gives an introduction to the engine. This is great for the less well known ones as it gives the child an idea about who they are going to read about and we thought it was a lovely addition. The text is large and bold so that it is easily read by children of reading age. There is one side of text and one illustration on each double page and this continues throughout the whole of the series to build a little familiarity with little one.
The illustrations are all bright and colourful to pull little one into the pages. The engines are detailed well so they are instantly recognisable and the background scenes are all taken from the TV show. They are simple on appearance but my children managed to find lots of little bits hiding in the background that they did not notice the first time around. They were an instant hit with my little boy who wanted to open them straight away and have story time. Since then they have had a little less interest shown but in the two years we have had them they have received so much use.
The excitement hit my son right from opening his birthday present. The box is large and impressive with Thomas printed all over it so he knew what was hiding inside. He knew it had 65 books inside but upon opening it his mouth dropped to the floor with the amount of books stacked in the box. The box is very sturdy and prefect for storage as I imagine without it the books would be difficult to store. They are smaller than other books and the odd proportions make them impossible to stack on a book shelf correctly.
The great thing is that there are so many different books bringing in characters new and old. This means my children can have the characters they enjoy but I do not become bored reading them. Even stories we have read over and over again are interesting to read so both the parent and child can enjoy them. The stories are mainly based on the character on the front of the book they are sure to bring the other characters in too to keep it interesting. Of course Thomas, Percy Gordon and James make regular appearances along with other engines. As a lot of the stories vary from the TV programme this also means it is fresh material for my son. He was excited it was not the same old stories that he already knows off by heart.
I will not list every single title as you can look that up if you are planning to purchase the set but some of the more well know characters are Fat controller, Thomas, Percy and all the other main engines. But there were also stories about engines my Son had never came across before. My son also found other engines that had been mentioned in the TV series before but he had never come across. Some of my son's favourites are Daisy, Mighty Mac and Madge. There are also a number of girl engines which my four year old girl was very excited about as usually it is mainly boy engines that feature on the show.
We have owned this set for over two and a half years now and they are still regularly picked for a bedtime read. They are the perfect length to be interesting to little one but also settle them off into quiet time. There are around 34 pages in total in each book, and that is with a fair amount of text one side and the illustrations the other. This provides a really interesting story for your child, but also keeps them short and sweet so that they do not become bored half way through. The variation in the books is fantastic and although some stories can be a little similar mostly they are an engaging read for children. Some of the stories are simpler than others so great for children beginning to read. The text and illustrations is child friendly so they can be introduced as a reading book. My only downside is that there is no suggestion to witch are easy to read and which are a little more difficult.
My son sat to try and think of anyone who is missing as he was sure all of the Thomas characters could not be in this box. He was unable to think of one engine that was not in this set which really impressed him. Also as it has every single character from the series your child's favourite is going to be there. That's how my son decided which he would want to read first by scanning through the names available. The books do not give you an idea of what the story will be like so it really is pick a character rather than a story. On the back of each book rather than a summary of a story is a list of all the others available from the same range so little one can choose who they want next.
Some of the books are broken up into to two stories but mostly there is just one main story in the book. If it is broken up into two stories it is not stated as that. The engines just wake up on the next day to start a new adventure. My children again thought this was brilliant as there is a lucky dip to see what they were going to get. They all read really well and I actually enjoy reading them to my children. The text is simple so that children learning to read can join in with their parents, but still include a large range of vocabulary for them to learn new words.
Unfortunately these books are no longer available at the book people. I have actually emailed to see if they were getting any more in as they would make fantastic gifts for the small £20, but they were unable to find any stock so just advised me to keep checking the website. They can be purchased for around £50 from Amazon which is still a fantastic price in my opinion. I do think the £200 retail price is inflated, but it has really provided hours of reading fun for our house. They are simple reading books that can be read to children and some of the books can be read by children too. The illustrations are bright and attractive and it brings all the fun of the tracks into words and pictures. There are a huge amount of characters to choose from and even with them being paper backs they are made to last. We have had ours since my sons third birthday which was nearly two and a half years ago now and apart from some minor damage the books are perfect. At £2.99 a book it can work out expensive but if you are planning on buying a few of the characters it is definitely worth buying the full set.