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“You look as if you've lost a coach and found a tar wagon!”
―Thomas to Mavis

Chalk and Slates is a magazine story.


One day, Thomas puffs past the Sodor Slate Mine where he meets Mavis who looks very sad. She is upset because no-one wants her slates. She has worked very hard pulling all the slates out of the mine and now she has nothing to do. Thomas wishes he could help Mavis, but he does not know how.

When he returns to town, Thomas is surprised to see the schoolchildren wearing old-fashioned clothes. Thomas' driver explains that it is for a special history lesson and the children are learning what school was like a hundred years ago. The Fat Controller arrives at the school with a photographer who wants to take photos of the children in their olden-day classroom. The photographer ventures into the classroom, but he cannot take any pictures as the children are using modern pens and paper when they should be using chalk and slates.

The Fat Controller has a problem; he can get some sticks of chalk, but where is he going to find a load of slates. Luckily, Thomas has a solution and heads back towards the mine to see Mavis.

Soon afterwards, Mavis arrives at the school with a special delivery for the children. The Fat Controller is delighted. The big slates have sharp edges so they have to be made smooth before the children can use them. The children find writing on slates with sticks of chalk most bizarre, but the Fat Controller assures them that is how it was a hundred years ago, not that he can remember it himself. The photographer takes some photos and is very pleased with them.

Later, everyone rushes outside to thank Mavis for bringing the slates. The Fat Controller calls Mavis a very useful engine and that makes her very pleased indeed.



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