It all started so innocently. I thought I would purchase a small Thomas the Train toy for my almost two year old for Christmas. He loved “choo choos,” so I didn’t see the harm in getting him the little blue train. I flipped over the package to check the safety information and read that it was intended for two years and up. It was so small and cute, not to mention affordable that I added it to my cart never knowing the consequences that would ensue. But I failed to catch something important on the package that could have saved me years of agony. Two words: “and Friends.” Thanks for not telling me that Thomas has at least 387 friends.
Turns out that was just a gateway train. These days I’m trying to figure out the difference between Percy and Whiff (I think they have different shaped eyebrows) and making sure I’ve packed the right train, because God forbid I’d bring the wrong green train to dinner.
Sound familiar? If this is your life, then you will appreciate (or not) this month’s Toddler Book Club selection, “Thomas and Friends: My Big Red Railway Book Box,” by Rev. W. Awdry. This box set of board books comes with four little books about Thomas and his pals, including “Go, Train, Go!” “Stop, Train, Stop!,” “A Crack in the Track!,” and “Blue Train, Green Train.” Needless to say, we read all of the books every night in our house. I admit, they are pretty adorable and it’s so fun to see my son excited to read them over and over again.
Things we liked about them:
- Quick reads about our favorite characters
- Lots of Percy sightings (kids love him)
- Rhyming stories and/or tales of adventure
- Incorporation of colors, animals, sounds, weather and speed
- Why is Thomas running fast (or slow)?
- What is your favorite train and why?
- What time of day does Percy run?
- What animals did you see in the story?
Recommendations for Book Club pairings:
- Snacks served in containers made to look like train cars; fruit, veggies, salty snacks
- Large pretzel sticks to look like logs
- Train shaped sandwiches (use a cookie cutter)
- Round chocolate candy or donut holes to look like coal
- Water to chug chug
Follow up activities:
- Put all of those toy trains to work and play!
- Build obstacles for the trains to maneuver around
- Build your own train out of a cardboard box
- Go outside and listen for trains/go to Shelby park and watch the trains cross the bridge
- Make road trip to visit the Chattanooga Choo Choo
Good thing Thomas and his friends have stood the test of time, because I think I’m in this one for the long haul. All aboard!