Friday, 4 November 2016

Alma Children's Classics: The Railway Children by E. Nesbit and Peter Bailey (Children's, 9 years +, 10E/10E, short 'n' sweet review)

Classic tale is reprinted with new illustrations!
August 2016, Alma Children's Classics, 192 pages, Paperback, Review copy

Roberta, 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 books. 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.

Nayu's thoughts
A childhood classic tale is reprinted for more to enjoy! I was thrilled when this came up for review because I've known this story from when I was quite young. I saw the film a few times, but hadn't reread the book since I was a child. It is one of my family's favourite reads too. While set in an older time, it's a classic that modern readers can relate to because there are many reasons why families are split apart these days. 

When I was younger I gave little thought to why the children's father wasn't with them, I liked the charming parts of when they finally reach the cottage and discover the food left for them the next day, how the children are a little naughty but have their hearts in the right place. I love how they win over Perks, how they enjoy having the boy to stay while he recovers from his accident as it gives them something to focus on. I teared up near the end because I knew exactly what was coming, and it's such a sweet reunion for the family.

 Now I'm older I feel more for their mother, having to live with uncertainty about what was happening with her husband while trying to keep her children occupied and provide for them. I understand the responsibility placed on Bobby for being the oldest, she is the one her siblings look to for advice. 

The illustrations fit the feel of the book, although I do have the film actors firmly in my head especially when reading about Phyllis who I love the best for being herself. Whether you've read The Railway Children, seen the film or done neither this is a must read for your shelf, teaching good values and how up and down life is for any family. 

See more of Peter's work on his website.

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