|This article is about 'the magazine story'. You may be looking for 'the episode'.|
- “Really useful engines don't need help or feel tired.”
Chickens to School is a magazine story, illustrated using photographs from the television series.
One morning, Thomas is feeling very tired; he had been working hard all night and wished he had had some help. Gordon tells Thomas that really useful engines do not need help or feel tired. So, even though he is exhausted, Thomas readily agrees to help when the Fat Controller needs an engine to run three specials. The Fat Controller tells Thomas to take the chickens to market, sheep to the farm and children to school. Percy offers to help, but Thomas declines his offer.
Thomas is so tired that he gets muddled up. He has the sheep unloaded at the market, drops the children at the farm and takes the chickens to the school. Thomas is very upset when the Fat Controller tells him what he has done. The Fat Controller tells Thomas that he just needs some help - the same way Gordon needs Edward to help him up his hill.
So, Percy and Emily help Thomas drop off the chickens, sheep and children at their correct destinations. Finally, Thomas is able to get some much-needed sleep.