Living / 22 February, 2022 / Ellie Thompson
Celebrity dads Harry Judd and Greg Shepherd have teamed up with their children for a heart-warming Thomas & Friends campaign. ‘Reading with Little Friends’ celebrates the storytelling magic of the world-famous children’s brand and showcases the new toys and characters from the books and TV show.
Singer Harry and his kids Lola, 5, and Kit, 4, and TV star Greg and his little ones Nelly, 8, and Arthur, 4, recorded two super-cute videos at their family homes. The kids snuggle on the sofa with their dads for some quality family reading time.
Lola reads aloud from the storybook ‘Thomas and the Rocket’ to Kit and her dad, whilst Nelly’s book of choice was ‘Thomas and Percy’s Spooky Night’, which she enthusiastically reads to her little brother Arthur and dad, Greg.
The adorable videos introduce exciting new characters and toys from the upcoming TV show, following its biggest transformation yet. Thomas & Friends takes on a new storytelling approach with vibrant, 2d animation and a collection of fun new characters set to inspire today’s audiences while maintaining its core message about the value of friendship. The current Thomas & Friends TV series, ‘All Engines Go’, which airs around the world and in the UK on Channel 5 Milkshake!, reimagines the classic Thomas & Friends incorporating life lessons including friendship, taking turns, teamwork, self-help, and empathy, meaning the stories are both timeless and timely as well as inspiring to a broad audience – children, parents and caregivers alike.
Lifelong fans will know that important life lessons have always remained at the heart of Thomas & Friends since the first Railway Series book written by Reverend W. Awdry was published in 1945. Thomas & Friends’ new campaign ‘Reading with Little Friends’ sees Harry and Greg discuss the important life lessons they want to pass on to their children, such as being kind, having great friends and knowing right from wrong.
A recent survey commissioned by Thomas & Friends this month revealed that much emphasis is placed on parents wanting their children to be honest and kind than anything else – with honesty, good manners and self-confidence coming out on top as attributes they most desire for their kids.
79 percent of those polled agreed it’s more important their little ones grow up with a good group of friends than aspiring to be the next Prime Minister. The research, conducted in February 2022, also revealed the words of wisdom mums and dads would want to impart on their little ones to help them achieve their goals in life, including “treat people as you’d want to be treated”. 69 percent of parents surveyed would like to pass down their own learnings from their parents onto their offspring.
Research revealed that parents think reading and extra-curricular activities are key to shaping youngsters. It emerged that 89 percent of mums and dads questioned acknowledge the importance of reading stories to their children, with parents sitting down for storytime more than four times a week, on average.
“I’m so happy to be part of Reading with Littles Friends with my kids Lola and Kit. We had loads of fun filming the videos and I’m really proud of Lola for her reading – and of Kit, for managing to stay still for the whole story! I’ve always been a fan of Thomas & Friends and really love how the stories are fun as well as teaching morals about being kind, helpful and working as a team – all things I’m constantly trying to teach the kids. Also having those moments when you play with Thomas & Friends toys and the kids are using their imaginations and really enjoying it and you’re enjoying it too, really allowing yourself to be childlike.”
Greg Shepherd, who appears with Nelly and Arthur and his wife Billie in ITV’s popular reality show The Family Diaries, said: “Making the decision to be part of Reading with Little Friends was one of the easiest yeses we’ve had to make this year! The kids are massively into Thomas & Friends, and I was when I was a kid, now we can enjoy it together. I love that they are going through the same process as me – watching the TV show, reading the books, and enjoying the toys. Some of the life lessons that I think are really important that I’d like to teach my kids are, having a good group of friends when they are growing up, knowing what’s right and what’s wrong, and having good manners.”