|This article is about the Railway Series book. You may be looking for the tank engine, the Random House book, the 2002 magazine story, the 1997 magazine story, the Story Library book or the My First Railway Library book.|
|Percy the Small Engine|
1956 - present
Percy the Small Engine is the eleventh book of the Railway Series.
Dear Christopher, and Giles, and Peter, and Clive,
Thank you for writing to ask for a book about Percy. He is still cheeky, and we were afraid (Sir Topham Hatt and I) that if he had a book to himself, it might make him cheekier than ever, and that would never do!
But Percy has been such a Really Useful Engine that we both think he deserves a book. Here it is.
After playing jokes on Gordon and James, Percy decides to stay out of their way for a while, but when he is asked to take a train to Knapford he gets careless and goes over to tell them. Seizing their chance, they warn him about "backing signals", and as he stops for the signal outside Knapford, he is convinced that he is waiting for a "backing signal". He ends up making a fool of himself, and Gordon sees the whole episode.
The Fat Controller is getting a new engine to help Percy, but Gordon and James tell Percy that if he worked harder they wouldn't need one. Percy, cross, works all day and is exhausted, but is happy when the new engine, Montague, known as Duck for his "waddle", arrives. They have a happy day together, but then the big engines order them about. Percy and Duck, in retaliation, block the entrance to the sheds. The Fat Controller comes and tells all five engines off. Percy is sent to work at Knapford, and Duck manages the workload alone.
One day at the airfield, Percy meets a noisy helicopter, Harold, who says railways are slow and out-of-date. Percy, furious, is later taking some trucks to Knapford when he sees Harold in the air and decides to race him. At the harbour, Percy thinks he's lost, but his fireman sees Harold looking for a place to land. In congratulation, his crew and the workmen sing a song about the race.
Thomas is busy and asks Percy to take the Sunday School children home. Percy agrees, but it starts to rain heavily as it's time to leave. Percy stops in front of a flooded paddock, but can't go back, as a bridge has collapsed. As he crosses the paddock, water sloshes into his fire and he stops. Percy struggles on, fueled by floorboards from the guard's van. After Harold drops some supplies for them, unfortunately landing on Percy's boiler, they make it to safety, and the Fat Controller congratulates the two.
- The Fat Controller
- Toby (does not speak)
- Annie and Clarabel (do not speak)
- This was the final book to be illustrated by C. Reginald Dalby, as the Reverend W. Awdry remarked that Percy looked like "a green caterpillar with red stripes" in the illustrations. Offended, Dalby refused to illustrate any further entries in the series. The comment on Percy's appearance would be later referenced in Tramway Engines.
- Percy's Promise is based on a real event where a train was stranded in five feet of water near Hunstanton, Norfolk, and the crew got the train into Hunstanton by using the floorboards of the guard's van.
- The electric pole by the single track shed in "Percy and the Signal" disappears.
- The workmen in the first illustration of "Percy and the Signal" are dramatically out of perspective.
- In the sixth illustration of "Duck Takes Charge" Duck appears to be taller than Henry.
- In the seventh illustration of "Duck Takes Charge", Duck is a much lighter shade of green.
- In the final illustration of "Percy and Harold", Percy's fireman is dramatically out of perspective.
- Throughout the book Duck is incorrectly depicted as a GWR 16xx class rather than a GWR 57xx class as is his basis.
- Thomas and Percy's headcodes are incorrect in all of the illustrations, except the second, in "Percy's Promise".
- In the third illustration of "Percy and Harold", Toby is missing his front coupling and is painted in his old livery.