02/04/2005

The Railway Children (by Edith Nesbit)

I love reading children's books, particularly classics like 'The Railway Children' by E Nesbit. The story is well-known: three children live an idyllic life with their cheerful father and loving mother in the early part of the 20th century.

One day some men arrive unexpectedly and their father goes away with them. Their mother is very upset, and before long the children and their mother move to a smaller house near a railway station.

The book mostly follows the lives of the children. They no longer go to school so they are free to roam around the countryside getting to know people and learning a great deal about the railway. Which doesn't sound terribly exciting, but it's a great book - there are some very moving moments, and it's also very well-written with a bit of humour in the author's asides.

Despite being written nearly 100 years ago the language doesn't seem too old-fashioned, and would probably be enjoyed by children from about the age of seven or eight upwards reading alone, or younger with a parent reading aloud.

I thoroughly enjoyed re-reading this after a gap of many years. I could hardly put it down after starting it last night, and finished it in just a few hours this afternoon.

Definitely recommended.

(If you prefer a film of children's books, we enjoyed an excellent adaptation of The Railway Children (the 1970 version). It is fairly true to the original, albeit a tad slow-moving). 

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