This article is about 'the magazine story'. You may be looking for 'the episode, the 2014 magazine story, the US/UK DVD, or the Thai DVD'.
“I need one of you to take Farmer McColl's sheep to the fair. That engine will also get their picture in the newspaper!"
"I'll do it!”
―Sir Topham Hatt and James

Muddy Matters is a magazine story, it was illustrated by using photographs from the CGI television series. It was later published in the 2014 Thomas Annual.


It is the day of the Farmer's Fair on Sodor and the Fat Controller needs one engine to take Farmer McColl's sheep to the fair. When he tells the engines that they will have their photograph taken for the newspaper, James immediately volunteers.

James arrives at Farmer McColl's and the farmer asks James to make sure the sheep and Katie the sheepdog are kept clean. He also tells James to keep to the flatter tracks so that his animals are not bounced around. James agrees and speeds off.

James soon stops at a junction. There are two tracks; a muddy flat track and a bumpy dry one. James decides to take the dry track. He does not notice that all of the bumping has loosened the catch on the wagon. When James arrives at Maron, he starts boasting to Emily about his special job. Just then, the sheep escape from the wagon and run down the platform and onto the road. Katie goes to chase after them, but James calls her back; he does not want Katie to be muddy for the photograph.

James soon finds the sheep eating grass in a nearby field. The fastest track to the field is all muddy, so James takes the longer track. By the time he pulls up at the field, the sheep are walking away. Katie wants to round-up the sheep, but James still insists that she stay in his cab.

The sheep are soon found and Katie barks. Hearing her, the sheep wander back to James who is so pleased that he blows his whistle loudly. This scares the sheep who dart off across a muddy field. Thomas and Percy pass by and tell James that Farmer McColl is looking forward to seeing his animals. James realises that he needs to get the sheep to the fair as soon as possible, even if they are muddy.

Katie soon rounds up the sheep and James' driver makes sure they are secure in the wagon before they set off down the fast, muddy track to the fair. James arrives at the fair covered in mud. Farmer McColl is not happy when he sees the state of his animals. The Photographer on the other hand is very pleased; he thinks a photo of a hard-working engine and the animals will be perfect for the newspaper. James smiles proudly and so does Farmer McColl.




  • This story is based on the sixteenth series episode, Muddy Matters.
  • After reading the story, readers are given the opportunity to colour in a picture of James.


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