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You Mean We’ve Been Paying All That Money for Made-in-China Thomas the Tank Engine?

It’s been a few years since I bought any “Thomas and Friends” toys for my son, so I don’t think any of the approximately 18,000 trains he owns are part of the recall that was just announced. It covers toys sold in the U.S. from Jan. 2005 through June 2007; they are thought to contain lead paint, and they were made in China.

I must say that I’m surprised to hear that Thomas toys are made in China, only because they’re so incredibly expensive. A typical little engine goes for about $10; a big one or a double goes for $20. They are very, very high-quality wooden toys (except, of course, for the apparently poisonous paint), and I had always assumed they were made in, oh, Wisconsin or somewhere similar. Why else, I wondered, would they cost so much?