Percy the Small Engine (Book)

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Percy the Small Engine

Percy the Small Engine is the 11th book in the Rev. W. Awdry's children's books The Railway Series. It features the first appearance of Duck, as well as Harold. It is also the last book illustrated by C. Reginald Dalby

Percy and the Signal

Percy is a young engine, and enjoys playing tricks on the big engines. But, one day, when a joke he plays on James goes too far, the Fat Controller is cross. To pay him out, James and Gordon make up a story about Backing Signals. They try to explain what they are, but Percy, being a bit stuck on himself, doesn't listen. Then, when Percy and his train of trucks is stopped by a signal, he is surprised to see its arm go up instead of down. He assumes that it must be a Backing Signal, and goes a short distance backwards. When his driver explains, Percy is embarrassed and wants to start quickly so no-one sees him, but Gordon had already seen everything. And, that night in the sheds, the big engines talk of nothing but signals.

Duck Takes Charge

Percy is getting worn out from working in the yard so much. So, the Fat Controller decides to buy another engine for the yard, and let Percy help Thomas and Toby with the creation of a new harbour. The new engine, named Duck (his real name is Montague) arrives. The big engines see Duck as "fresh meat", and decided to quack and wheesh at him. To pay them out, Percy and Duck decide to block the big engines from getting in the sheds that night. After a noisy arguement the Fat Controller arrives. he tells Duck and Percy that they should not have made such a disturbance. The big engines laugh at Duck and Percy getting in trouble, but the Fat Controller has news for them as well. They were they cause of disturbance, and should not be ordering the smaller engines about. Percy goes to the harbour to help with the work, and Duck easily manages the yard.

Percy and Harold

Near the new harbour is an airfield. The noisiest of all the planes there is a helicopter named Harold. Harold claims the railways are slow and out of date. Percy is offended by this. All day, he thinks of how to pay Harold out. Then, that afternoon, he sees Harold flying above the tracks, and starts a race with him. Percy takes the lead, and stars going faster than he'd ever gone before. However, once they reach the harbour wharf, the race must stop. Percy is sure they've lost, but the fireman informs him that Harold has not landed yet, and Percy has won the race. He then creates a song about Percy and Harold's race, which Percy enjoys enormously.

Percy's Promise

One day, Thomas asks Percy if he could deliver the Vicar's sunday school home for him, to which Percy agrees that he will. That afternoon, it starts to rain heavily, but Percy doesn't wish to break his promise, so he collects the children and sets off. So much water has come down, that some of the tracks are beginning to flood. It gets so bad, that the water washes out Percy's fire. To make more, the driver and fireman ask the guard for some floor boards, which the guard reluctantly gives to them. Then, Harold flies by and drops something onto Percy's funnel. He has dropped hot drinks for Percy's crew. Then, Percy begins again, and makes it all the way to the station. The Vicar, and the Fat Controller (who arrived at the station in Harold) are very pleased. And the Fat Controller tells Percy that he is wizard (according to Harold) and a Really Useful Engine.

New Characters

  • Duck
  • Harold


  • The name "Duck" comes from the fact that the Rev. W. Awdry's model of Duck had a problem with one of its wheels and would "waddle" along the tracks.
  • Awdry was very displeased with Dalby's drawing of Percy, calling him a "green caterpillar with red stripes". This was the tip of the iceberg for Dalby (who had already had numerous disagreements with Awdry), and he quit. John T. Kenney took over as illustrator staring with book 12.

The world of Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends
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Book series: The Railway Series
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List of Railway Series Books
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Movie and spin-off releases: Thomas and the Magic RailroadCalling All EnginesOn Site with ThomasThe Great DiscoveryHero of the RailsMisty Island RescueDay of the DieselsBlue Mountain MysteryKing of the Railway

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