4 Nov 2016

THE RAILWAY CHILDREN.

THE RAILWAY CHILDREN by E. NESBIT.

BACK COVER BLURB: Bobbie, Phyllis and Peter have their comfortable lives in London thrown into disarray by the unexpected disappearance of their father. They are forced to move to a small cottage in the countryside with their mother, who struggles to make ends meet by writing stories.

The children find solace in a stretch of railway track and the station nearby, and befriend the railway porter, who teaches them about running the station, and an old gentleman who takes the 9.15 train every day. Through this love of the trains they are led on many exciting adventures, including a quest to discover the secret of their father's disappearance.


FIRST SENTENCE {Chapter One: The Beginning Of Things}: They were not Railway Children to begin with.

MEMORABLE MOMENT {Page 96}: And, as Peter pointed, the tree was moving - not just the way trees ought to move when the wind blows through them, but all in one piece, as though it were a living creature and were walking down the side of the cutting.

SOURCE: Received from the publishers, Alma Books. 

MY THOUGHTS: Knowing that I love books as I do and that the film version was one of my childhood favourites, would it surprise you to learn that I've never actually read (though my man would vehemently deny this) .... until now?

One of the Classics, originally published in 1906, The Railway Children has recently been released by Alma Books as part of its Classics Collection.

Is it just me or are many of the Classic 'children's books' (I'm thinking Little Women and the Little House On The Prairie books) written in the mid to late 19th/early 20th century and so beloved by my mother's generation (the so-called Baby Boomers) centred around female characters? Female characters quite unlike the children of today's books who were merely miniature versions of their mothers.

How refreshing then to read of children such as the Railway Children, Roberta (Bobbie), Phyllis and Peter. 'Real' children who had actual adventures and not just children who were 'mini adults'.

For a book written more than a hundred years ago, gender, class, relocation, poverty, immigrants: thinking about there are so many issues (issues that I'm not sure the younger me would have appreciated let alone understood) that resonate with life today. And yet on another level, a gentle, quaint tale of 'little Britain' all about family and friendship, surely something the youngest to oldest readers will delight in.


13 comments:

Barbara Fisher said...

Do you know Tracy; I've never read it either?! I sold a good few copies in my book-selling days – how terrible is that? This has just gone to the top of my ‘must’ list.

Barbara Fisher said...

Thanks for your comment Tracy, I've added the link to the end of the post.

Kelly said...

Considering it's a classic, dare I admit I'm not familiar with it?! It sounds delightful and I thoroughly enjoyed your review.

Suko said...

I've never read this, either. It sounds like I'd enjoy reading it. Lovely review!

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Oh there are several movies I loved as a child but haven't read them. I do think I may have to do this one day. I love the perspective it gave you.

Gina R said...

Sounds like a joy Tracey! Thanks for sharing a glimpse of childhood!

Regine Karpel said...

Great.

Melliane said...

it looks like a really nice one

The Bookworm said...

I've never heard of The Railway Children until now and interesting that it touches on so many issues.

Brian Joseph said...

This is very insightful commentary Tracy. Your observation on the way that most little girls are portrayed in contemporary children's books is so interesting. I think that you are on to something with it.

Yvonne@fiction-books said...

Hi Tracy,

I used to read so much as a child that I'm certain this one would have had a place on my bookshelf, although I can't remember the written story.

I love to get copies of these re-printed classics donated into the charity shop, as I manage to find a few minutes to browse their pages and fervently hope that they will go to a good new home to be appreciated by another generation. Do you know though, just how many times I see them being sold to adults, who are buying them for themselves, as a trip down memory lane :)

The film will always stick in my mind for the performance of Jenny Agutter, whose cut glass English accent I always wanted to emulate. When I was checking out the film though, I was a bit surprised to learn that 'The Railway Children' was also adapted for television, as I can't remember that at all!

Thanks for the trip down memory lane :)

Yvonne

Natasha Hill said...

The Railway Children is one of those classics that's been on my list for a long while so I must pick up a copy when I next see it in the library. It's got some happy memories for me as I remember seeing it at my grandparents house on their bookshelf and my friend loved this book growing up, so it's one I need to read soon! - Tasha

Charlie (The Worm Hole) said...

I've seen the film but I can't actually remember if I read the book. I think I did have a copy so maybe... There's a lot to like about it today, for sure.