Day 929: The Railway Children

Cover for The Railway ChildrenThe Railway Children is a classic British children’s story, written in 1906. At the beginning, Roberta (Bobbie), Peter, and Phyllis live a happy and comfortable life with their parents in a suburb of London. Then one evening two men come to see their father, and they hear angry voices. Their father goes away with the men, and shortly afterward they move with their mother to a cottage in the country.

Here things are a bit more primitive. They only have one servant, a housekeeper, and a pump in the yard for water. They have to help their mother more, and Peter can’t go to school. Their mother can’t play with them, because she is busy writing stories for money. They are poor and have to be careful how much coal they use and what they eat.

Near their house is the railway, and they find lots to entertain themselves watching the trains and getting to know the men at the station. They wave to an old gentleman on the morning train every day, and they have adventures related to the railway.

I can see why children would love this story. Although the children’s adventures are all realistic, they would be exciting reading for children. There is also the mystery about their father. Character development is not a strong suit of the novel, but the children and their mother are sympathetic and the children behave like actual children.

Perhaps the novel does not have as much to offer adults, especially those who didn’t read and love the book as children. Still, it’s easy to see why the book is still popular.

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6 thoughts on “Day 929: The Railway Children

    • whatmeread July 5, 2016 / 12:57 pm

      I’m guessing that the people who read it as a child would love it most.

  1. Helen July 5, 2016 / 3:43 pm

    I loved this book when I was a child but I’m not sure if I would want to re-read it as an adult. I think I might find it too sentimental now.

    • whatmeread July 6, 2016 / 7:31 am

      I don’t know if I would call it sentimental. I’m thinking not.

  2. SpringTexan July 20, 2016 / 9:50 am

    If memory serves, one of the most moving parts is when the mother grapples with herself to let the kids walk near the railroad even though it might be dangerous . . .

    • whatmeread July 20, 2016 / 10:00 am

      I don’t remember that, but it seems likely (read this a while ago).

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