Thomas the Tank Engine Wikia
This article is about 'the mini book'. You may be looking for 'the episode'.

“Can't we stop and watch for a while?”

James and the Balloons is a mini book.


There is going to be a balloon race on the Island of Sodor and James is chosen to take the balloons to the starting point. James wants to watch the balloon race, but he has to go to work. However, a balloon has fallen on the track so James takes the balloonists to the finish. When he reaches the finish line, he sees the balloonists land just in time and win the race!



  • This story may have been adapted from the 1989 magazine story The Balloon Race, which was written by Andrew Brenner.
  • This story may have been loosely adapted into the sixth series episode, James and the Red Balloon.
  • In Australia, it was released with an audio tape of the story read by Ron Haddrick.
  • This was the first mini book to be published.
  • Thomas near the great balloon race poster at the station and the part where they load the balloon onto James and his driver is standing on the coal in the tender is omitted from the small version.


  • James has yellow wheel splasher, cab and tender lining instead of black and his number also has a yellow outline with a red interior.
  • All of the engines are missing their brake pipes and lamp irons.
  • All of the engines have grey buffers throughout the story.
  • Gordon is missing his handrail.
  • In the seventh illustration, A spot of red is seen on James' dome.
  • Because pony truck wheels are not fitted with brakes, James' should not have been screeching whilst he was stopping in front of the balloon.
  • In the ninth illustration, James is missing his dome.
  • Gordon's running board is much lower than it should be.