Andy and I took the boys to Powell’s a couple of weeks ago to trade in some books and to get them a couple of new ones. Of alllll of the books in alllll of the kids’ section to choose from Zephyr decided on a worn Thomas Gets Tricked. But hey, it was two bucks so we went for it. He’s been attached to it ever since, so the joke is truly on us. “Read Thomas Gets Tricked!” he asks so sweetly that we can’t help but swallow the mounting vomit in our throats and comply. Because after reading these “clever” little stories to my kids all I have to say is HOW IS THIS FOR CHILDREN AGAIN? Yiiikes. Yikes.
In one story, Thomas and Gordon battle it out to see who the hardest working engine is. Thomas teases Gordon a bit too much so Gordon plots revenge, and he ends up pulling Thomas behind his train as fast as he can possibly go. “Poor Thomas was going faster than he had ever gone before. He was out of breath and his wheels hurt him, but he had to go on. “I shall never be the same again,” he thought sadly. ‘My wheels will be quite worn out.'” So he puffs off home depressed, imagining everyone laughing at him and Gordon tells him, “Now you know what hard work means don’t you?”
You know how it goes kiddos, Mom was being way too cheeky so Dad gave her a split lip.
GREAT LESSON FOR KIDS.
Or how about the one where Henry is pretty much buried alive because he doesn’t want to leave a tunnel for fear of spoiling his lovely green paint? Oh, sure, they try to get him out by pushing and pulling at him (Sir Topham Hatt has the best lines: “My doctor has forbidden me to push.” BRITISH PEOPLE WTF?) but in the end, they decide to erect a brick wall in front of him. What is this, OZ? And then Gordon rides by and poop-poops at him. Scatological humor FTW.
Eventually Henry is set free and realizes that the best way to keep his paint nice is to “ask his driver to rub him down” every day. Okay, I never used to have so many “that’s what she said!” moments before I married Andy, but COME ON!!!! Come. On.
Basically all of the stories are about teaching lessons through shame and embarrassment. It would be horrible if it weren’t so damn bizarre and therefore, hilarious! But this shit is not for kids. It’s for adults? Nah, that just sounds…weird. I mean, I get why kids love this crap so much, but Z would be obsessed with trains whether or not they had creepy anthropomorphic faces. He looooooooooves Dinosaur Train , which is GENIUS because it combines the two things that kids love the most: trains and dinosaurs, even though I sometimes think that adding time travel is going a bit too far.