Thomas steams in to Korea

Thomas and Friends

A while ago I saw the following headline in the Chosun Ilbo: ‘Thomas the Train’ Toys Recalled. Rather like the Mattel “Sarge” toys recently recalled, there were fears that the paint contained lead.

I wondered if the headline meant Thomas the Tank Engine, that friendly, hard-working little creation of the Reverend W Audry, whose books I read avidly when I was a few years younger than I am now.

I filed away the article for future reference, and that reference point has now arrived. A week or so ago I got an email from Egmont publishing to say they were about to ship to Korea a whole load of boxed sets of Thomas the Tank Engine books, translated into Korean. Was I interested?

Time, the old enemy, got in the way, and I never followed up with a visit to the publishers to have a chat with them. But search for Thomas and Friends in Korean – “토마스와 친구들” – and you’ll find lots of products and videos, indicating the popularity of this character which was in fact a great favourite of my own childhood days.

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