- “It looks just like me! You are an artist as well as a farmer!”
- ―Thomas to Farmer Collett
Thomas and the Bluebird is a magazine story.
Thomas is delivering fuel to a big farmyard. The Farmer is not there when they arrive so the driver decides to let Thomas' fire die down and wait for him to return from lunch. Just then, Thomas spots a pretty bluebird which can only be found on Sodor. It is a warm day and the driver and Thomas falls asleep. The bluebird starts to build a nest in Thomas' funnel.
After lunch, the farmer returns and tells Thomas about the Bluebird in his funnel. The driver fills the farmer's oil tank with the fuel and the bluebird flies away. Thomas does not want to ruin the special bird's nest so he cannot go anywhere. The farmer has an idea. In the farmyard, the farmer collects an old chimney pot and mixes some concrete. The farmer puts the old chimney pot on top of the oil tank. Thomas can see that the oil tank is starting to look like an engine. The farmer then fetches two big, old cartwheels that he places against the brick base beneath the oil tank. Thomas' driver suggests that the old boiler needs a friendly face. The farmer finds a brush and some paint and copies Thomas' face onto the tank. The farmer then gently takes the birds nest from Thomas' funnel to the chimney pot on the oil tank.
Thomas moves off a little and watches for the bluebird to approach. The bird spies its nest and lands right on the chimney pot. Thomas is pleased that the plan has worked. Thomas' driver agrees that from a distance, the old oil tank looks just like an engine. They decide to give the oil tank a name. Thomas fittingly suggests they call it "Bluebird".
- In one illustration, the farmer is seen putting a cart wheel up against one side of the brick base, but in the following illustrations the wheels are on the other side of the brick base (facing Thomas).