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The Railway Children Book Review


About the book

First published: 1906 by Darton & Co

Author: Edith Nesbitt

Pages: 172

The story begins with Peter, Roberta and Phylis living in a rather pleasant and suburban house with their loving parents. But one day their lives change forever when 2 men visit their home and arrest their father for being a spy. These claims are clearly unjustified and untrue, but nevertheless, he is taken to prison. With the father being the main breadwinner of the family, they have to leave their home and move to a cottage in the countryside.

Mother often tells the children that their funds are now limited, and makes no secret that she has to make ends meet. Now that the mother is the main breadwinner, she tries selling stories that she has written.

With the children no longer getting an education, the book tells us about how they fill their days occupying themselves and keeping themselves amused. With their new home in Yorkshire being near a railway station, a lot of their spare time is spent watching the passing trains and getting to know the station master. They encounter many adventures, including one which meant they had to stop the train after a landslide.

As each day passes and they go to watch the regular passing train, they get to know one particularly friendly old gentleman from the train. They wave to him each morning, and he waves back. This old man eventually gets to know the children and their mother and plays a big part in finding out the true story of their fathers' wrongful arrest.

The book also portrays just how kind their mother is, although she doesn't have much money coming in. This is proved when she helps a Russian man find his family, and a young man who has broken his leg.


My thoughts

Although this book is aimed for children, I really enjoyed reading it. I really wanted to read the book because I've seen the film of The Railway Children several times when it's been on TV. So, although I know the story pretty well, I found the book really interesting and enjoyable. What I particularly liked about is the way the author speaks to the reader. For example, in the last chapter she says, "I have told you everything else, except what I am going to tell you in this chapter, which is the last one."

The story of the railway children is quintessentially English set in the Yorkshire countryside with the image of green fields and steam trains in the distance. The story tells us what can happen when things happen beyond your control. But, a family can be held together through love and perseverance. This is a beautiful story, with no bad people in it. The people in that Edith Nesbitt created are all good people with big hearts. This may be a simple story, but I found it very humbling to read, and these 3 children adapted well to living in the countryside form suburban life.

The Railway Children book

© 2018 Louise Powles


FlourishAnyway from USA on May 05, 2018:

This sounds like a good book that I’d be interested in reading. How you manage to find these old tales is a mystery. Thanks for bringing them to our attention.

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Louise Powles (author) from Norfolk, England on May 05, 2018:

Ok thanks Hari, it sounds like an interesting book. I'll check it out. =)

Hari Prasad S from Bangalore on May 05, 2018:

Great review Louise. I like stories like these where there are challanges but no villans. They inspire than create stress.

I recommend "Malgudi days" from R.K.Narayan, Do read it, It is on similar mood about a village and its people set in south india.

- Hari

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on May 04, 2018:

This is one of my favourite children's books. I love the story and the characters. I enjoyed the film of the story that I saw, too. Thanks for reminding me about a lovely tale.

Elijah A Alexander Jr from Washington DC on May 04, 2018:

Louise, your review makes me want the book. Except for the cause of their need of relocating to the country that is the reverse of what a family would do in a today's USA setting, it is the kind of book that I would, at least, appreciate reading. The way you presented it also has a lots to do with my desire for it.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on May 03, 2018:

This is my kind of story. I don't think I have read it so I will get myself a copy and be a child once again.

Louise Powles (author) from Norfolk, England on May 03, 2018:

Thankyou Frank for the lovely comment. =)

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on May 03, 2018:

Once again you have proven yourself to be a very thorough book reviewer coffee.. You make me want to read that children's book thank you

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