Thomas and Terence and James and the Tar Wagons is the third Ladybird book, based on the episodes Thomas, Terence and the Snow and Dirty Objects. It is illustrated using photographs from the television series.
Thomas meets Terence, a tractor with caterpillars, ploughing beside the line. Thomas thinks his caterpillars are ugly, but winter comes, and then Thomas has to wear his heavy and uncomfortable snowplough, which he hates. He soon bangs it about so much that he breaks it. The next day when he takes his train, he runs headlong into a large snowdrift. His driver and fireman dig, but Thomas is stuck fast. Then Terence comes to Thomas' rescue, and even Thomas has to agree that Terence's caterpillars are splendid.
When Toby and his coach, Henrietta, come to the line, James pokes fun at their shabby paintwork, calling them "dirty objects". He soon gets his comeuppance when his trucks push him down the hill and into two tar wagons, dirtying him from smokebox to cab. Toby and Percy come to the rescue, and James is taken to the Fat Controller. Toby and Henrietta are rewarded with new coats of paint. James does not tease them now.
- Annie and Clarabel
- Sir Topham Hatt
- Henrietta (does not speak)
- Bertie (mentioned; not named)
- Photographs from Thomas, Terence and the Snow, Thomas and Gordon, Thomas' Christmas Party, Dirty Objects, Thomas and the Trucks, and James and the Express are used.
- A picture from Thomas, Terence and the Snow is mirrored.
- A cassette tape narrated by Ringo Starr was included with some releases of the book.
JAMES AND THE TAR WAGONS
- Because text from the original Railway Series story is used, Toby is told to be painted "chocolate and blue" by the Fat Controller, but he was never painted blue in the television series. Similarly, The Fat Controller tells Toby that Henrietta "shall be brown like Annie and Clarabel, Thomas's coaches," but Annie and Clarabel are orange in the TV series. This goof also appears in the Buzz Book as it uses the same text.