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The Railway Children

The Railway Children

Автором E. Nesbit

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The Railway Children

Автором E. Nesbit

оценки:
4/5 (36 оценки)
Длина:
232 pages
4 hours
Издатель:
Издано:
Mar 10, 2020
ISBN:
9781504061742
Формат:

Описание

This classic—adapted for radio, television, stage, and screen—“has a special and enduring place in British children’s literature” (The Guardian).
 
Roberta, Peter, and Phyllis used to live in London. But their father, who worked at the Foreign Office, was accused of spying—and now he’s in prison. So they’ve moved with their mother to the Yorkshire countryside, to a house near the railway called the Three Chimneys.
 
They may have much less money than they did before, but the siblings still have a great deal of adventures, and soon they make plenty of new friends: the “Old Gentleman,” who takes the 9:15 train, plus the station porter, the stationmaster, an engineer, a fireman, and a mysterious Russian man who steps off the tracks with a remarkable story to tell.
 
Before long, the Old Gentleman will do something very special to help his young chums—and the children will have their own chance to be heroes as well . . .
Издатель:
Издано:
Mar 10, 2020
ISBN:
9781504061742
Формат:

Об авторе

E. Nesbit (1858–1924) began writing for young adults after a successful career in magazines. Using her own unconventional childhood as a jumping-off point, she published novels that combined reality, fantasy, and humor. Expanded from a series of articles in the Strand Magazine, Five Children and It was published as a novel in 1902 and is the first in a trilogy that includes The Phoenix and the Carpet and The Story of the Amulet. Together with her husband, Nesbit was a founding member of the socialist Fabian Society, and her home became a hub for some of the greatest authors and thinkers of the time, including George Bernard Shaw and H. G. Wells.

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The Railway Children - E. Nesbit

NESBIT

1

The Beginning of Things

They were not railway children to begin with. I don’t suppose they had ever thought about railways except as a means of getting to Maskelyne and Cook’s, the Pantomime, Zoological Gardens, and Madame Tussaud’s. They were just ordinary suburban children, and they lived with their Father and Mother in an ordinary red-brick-fronted villa, with coloured glass in the front door, a tiled passage that was called a hall, a bathroom with hot and cold water, electric bells, French windows, and a good deal of white paint, and ‘every modern convenience’, as the house-agents say.

There were three of them. Roberta was the eldest. Of course, Mothers never have favourites, but if their Mother HAD had a favourite, it might have been Roberta. Next came Peter, who wished to be an Engineer when he grew up; and the youngest was Phyllis, who meant extremely well.

Mother did not spend all her time in paying dull calls to dull ladies, and sitting dully at home waiting for dull ladies to pay calls to her. She was almost always there, ready to play with the children, and read to them, and help them to do their home-lessons. Besides this she used to write stories for them while they were at school, and read them aloud after tea, and she always made up funny pieces of poetry for their birthdays and for other great occasions, such as the christening of the new kittens, or the refurnishing of the doll’s house, or the time when they were getting over the mumps.

These three lucky children always had everything they needed: pretty clothes, good fires, a lovely nursery with heaps of toys, and a Mother Goose wall-paper. They had a kind and merry nursemaid, and a dog who was called James, and who was their very own. They also had a Father who was just perfect—never cross, never unjust, and always ready for a game—at least, if at any time he was NOT ready, he always had an excellent reason for it, and explained the reason to the children so interestingly and funnily that they felt sure he couldn’t help himself.

You will think that they ought to have been very happy. And so they were, but they did not know HOW happy till the pretty life in the Red Villa was over and done with, and they had to live a very different life indeed.

The dreadful change came quite suddenly.

Peter had a birthday—his tenth. Among his other presents was a model engine more perfect than you could ever have dreamed of. The other presents were full of charm, but the Engine was fuller of charm than any of the others were.

Its charm lasted in its full perfection for exactly three days. Then, owing either to Peter’s inexperience or Phyllis’s good intentions, which had been rather pressing, or to some other cause, the Engine suddenly went off with a bang. James was so frightened that he went out and did not come back all day. All the Noah’s Ark people who were in the tender were broken to bits, but nothing else was hurt except the poor little engine and the feelings of Peter. The others said he cried over it—but of course boys of ten do not cry, however terrible the tragedies may be which darken their lot. He said that his eyes were red because he had a cold. This turned out to be true, though Peter did not know it was when he said it, the next day he had to go to bed and stay there. Mother began to be afraid that he might be sickening for measles, when suddenly he sat up in bed and said:

I hate gruel—I hate barley water—I hate bread and milk. I want to get up and have something REAL to eat.

What would you like? Mother asked.

A pigeon-pie, said Peter, eagerly, a large pigeon-pie. A very large one.

So Mother asked the Cook to make a large pigeon-pie. The pie was made. And when the pie was made, it was cooked. And when it was cooked, Peter ate some of it. After that his cold was better. Mother made a piece of poetry to amuse him while the pie was being made. It began by saying what an unfortunate but worthy boy Peter was, then it went on:

He had an engine that he loved

With all his heart and soul,

And if he had a wish on earth.

It was to keep it whole.

One day—my friends, prepare your minds;

I’m coming to the worst—

Quite suddenly a screw went mad,

And then the boiler burst!

With gloomy face he picked it up

And took it to his Mother,

Though even he could not suppose

That she could make another;

For those who perished on the line

He did not seem to care,

His engine being more to him

Than all the people there.

And now you see the reason why

Our Peter has been ill:

He soothes his soul with pigeon-pie

His gnawing grief to kill.

He wraps himself in blankets warm

And sleeps in bed till late,

Determined thus to overcome

His miserable fate.

And if his eyes are rather red,

His cold must just excuse it:

Offer him pie; you may be sure

He never will refuse it.

Father had been away in the country for three or four days. All Peter’s hopes for the curing of his afflicted Engine were now fixed on his Father, for Father was most wonderfully clever with his fingers. He could mend all sorts of things. He had often acted as veterinary surgeon to the wooden rocking-horse; once he had saved its life when all human aid was despaired of, and the poor creature was given up for lost, and even the carpenter said he didn’t see his way to do anything. And it was Father who mended the doll’s cradle when no one else could; and with a little glue and some bits of wood and a pen-knife made all the Noah’s Ark beasts as strong on their pins as ever they were, if not stronger.

Peter, with heroic unselfishness, did not say anything about his Engine till after Father had had his dinner and his after-dinner cigar. The unselfishness was Mother’s idea—but it was Peter who carried it out. And needed a good deal of patience, too.

At last Mother said to Father, Now, dear, if you’re quite rested, and quite comfy, we want to tell you about the great railway accident, and ask your advice.

All right, said Father, fire away!

So then Peter told the sad tale, and fetched what was left of the Engine.

Hum, said Father, when he had looked the Engine over very carefully.

The children held their breaths.

Is there NO hope? said Peter, in a low, unsteady voice.

Hope? Rather! Tons of it, said Father, cheerfully; but it’ll want something besides hope—a bit of brazing say, or some solder, and a new valve. I think we’d better keep it for a rainy day. In other words, I’ll give up Saturday afternoon to it, and you shall all help me.

CAN girls help to mend engines? Peter asked doubtfully.

Of course they can. Girls are just as clever as boys, and don’t you forget it! How would you like to be an engine-driver, Phil?

My face would be always dirty, wouldn’t it? said Phyllis, in unenthusiastic tones, and I expect I should break something.

I should just love it, said Roberta—do you think I could when I’m grown up, Daddy? Or even a stoker?

You mean a fireman, said Daddy, pulling and twisting at the engine. Well, if you still wish it, when you’re grown up, we’ll see about making you a fire-woman. I remember when I was a boy—

Just then there was a knock at the front door.

Who on earth! said Father. An Englishman’s house is his castle, of course, but I do wish they built semi-detached villas with moats and drawbridges.

Ruth—she was the parlour-maid and had red hair—came in and said that two gentlemen wanted to see the master.

I’ve shown them into the Library, Sir, said she.

I expect it’s the subscription to the Vicar’s testimonial, said Mother, or else it’s the choir holiday fund. Get rid of them quickly, dear. It does break up an evening so, and it’s nearly the children’s bedtime.

But Father did not seem to be able to get rid of the gentlemen at all quickly.

I wish we HAD got a moat and drawbridge, said Roberta; then, when we didn’t want people, we could just pull up the drawbridge and no one else could get in. I expect Father will have forgotten about when he was a boy if they stay much longer.

Mother tried to make the time pass by telling them a new fairy story about a Princess with green eyes, but it was difficult because they could hear the voices of Father and the gentlemen in the Library, and Father’s voice sounded louder and different to the voice he generally used to people who came about testimonials and holiday funds.

Then the Library bell rang, and everyone heaved a breath of relief.

They’re going now, said Phyllis; he’s rung to have them shown out.

But instead of showing anybody out, Ruth showed herself in, and she looked queer, the children thought.

Please’m, she said, the Master wants you to just step into the study. He looks like the dead, mum; I think he’s had bad news. You’d best prepare yourself for the worst,’m—p’raps it’s a death in the family or a bank busted or—

That’ll do, Ruth, said Mother gently; you can go.

Then Mother went into the Library. There was more talking. Then the bell rang again, and Ruth fetched a cab. The children heard boots go out and down the steps. The cab drove away, and the front door shut. Then Mother came in. Her dear face was as white as her lace collar, and her eyes looked very big and shining. Her mouth looked like just a line of pale red—her lips were thin and not their proper shape at all.

It’s bedtime, she said. Ruth will put you to bed.

But you promised we should sit up late tonight because Father’s come home, said Phyllis.

Father’s been called away—on business, said Mother. Come, darlings, go at once.

They kissed her and went. Roberta lingered to give Mother an extra hug and to whisper:

It wasn’t bad news, Mammy, was it? Is anyone dead—or—

Nobody’s dead—no, said Mother, and she almost seemed to push Roberta away. I can’t tell you anything tonight, my pet. Go, dear, go NOW.

So Roberta went.

Ruth brushed the girls’ hair and helped them to undress. (Mother almost always did this herself.) When she had turned down the gas and left them she found Peter, still dressed, waiting on the stairs.

I say, Ruth, what’s up? he asked.

Don’t ask me no questions and I won’t tell you no lies, the red-headed Ruth replied. You’ll know soon enough.

Late that night Mother came up and kissed all three children as they lay asleep. But Roberta was the only one whom the kiss woke, and she lay mousey-still, and said nothing.

If Mother doesn’t want us to know she’s been crying, she said to herself as she heard through the dark the catching of her Mother’s breath, we WON’T know it. That’s all.

When they came down to breakfast the next morning, Mother had already gone out.

To London, Ruth said, and left them to their breakfast.

There’s something awful the matter, said Peter, breaking his egg. Ruth told me last night we should know soon enough.

Did you ASK her? said Roberta, with scorn.

Yes, I did! said Peter, angrily. If you could go to bed without caring whether Mother was worried or not, I couldn’t. So there.

I don’t think we ought to ask the servants things Mother doesn’t tell us, said Roberta.

That’s right, Miss Goody-goody, said Peter, preach away.

I’M not goody, said Phyllis, but I think Bobbie’s right this time.

Of course. She always is. In her own opinion, said Peter.

Oh, DON’T! cried Roberta, putting down her egg-spoon; don’t let’s be horrid to each other. I’m sure some dire calamity is happening. Don’t let’s make it worse!

Who began, I should like to know? said Peter.

Roberta made an effort, and answered:—

I did, I suppose, but—

Well, then, said Peter, triumphantly. But before he went to school he thumped his sister between the shoulders and told her to cheer up.

The children came home to one o’clock dinner, but Mother was not there. And she was not there at tea-time.

It was nearly seven before she came in, looking so ill and tired that the children felt they could not ask her any questions. She sank into an arm-chair. Phyllis took the long pins out of her hat, while Roberta took off her gloves, and Peter unfastened her walking-shoes and fetched her soft velvety slippers for her.

When she had had a cup of tea, and Roberta had put eau-de-Cologne on her poor head that ached, Mother said:—

Now, my darlings, I want to tell you something. Those men last night did bring very bad news, and Father will be away for some time. I am very worried about it, and I want you all to help me, and not to make things harder for me.

As if we would! said Roberta, holding Mother’s hand against her face.

You can help me very much, said Mother, by being good and happy and not quarrelling when I’m away—Roberta and Peter exchanged guilty glances—for I shall have to be away a good deal.

We won’t quarrel. Indeed we won’t, said everybody. And meant it, too.

Then, Mother went on, I want you not to ask me any questions about this trouble; and not to ask anybody else any questions.

Peter cringed and shuffled his boots on the carpet.

You’ll promise this, too, won’t you? said Mother.

I did ask Ruth, said Peter, suddenly. I’m very sorry, but I did.

And what did she say?

She said I should know soon enough.

It isn’t necessary for you to know anything about it, said Mother; it’s about business, and you never do understand business, do you?

No, said Roberta; is it something to do with Government? For Father was in a Government Office.

Yes, said Mother. Now it’s bed-time, my darlings. And don’t YOU worry. It’ll all come right in the end.

Then don’t YOU worry either, Mother, said Phyllis, and we’ll all be as good as gold.

Mother sighed and kissed them.

We’ll begin being good the first thing tomorrow morning, said Peter, as they went upstairs.

Why not NOW? said Roberta.

There’s nothing to be good ABOUT now, silly, said Peter.

We might begin to try to FEEL good, said Phyllis, and not call names.

Who’s calling names? said Peter. Bobbie knows right enough that when I say ‘silly’, it’s just the same as if I said Bobbie.

WELL, said Roberta.

No, I don’t mean what you mean. I mean it’s just a—what is it Father calls it?—a germ of endearment! Good night.

The girls folded up their clothes with more than usual neatness—which was the only way of being good that they could think of.

I say, said Phyllis, smoothing out her pinafore, you used to say it was so dull—nothing happening, like in books. Now something HAS happened.

I never wanted things to happen to make Mother unhappy, said Roberta. Everything’s perfectly horrid.

Everything continued to be perfectly horrid for some weeks.

Mother was nearly always out. Meals were dull and dirty. The between-maid was sent away, and Aunt Emma came on a visit. Aunt Emma was much older than Mother. She was going abroad to be a governess. She was very busy getting her clothes ready, and they were very ugly, dingy clothes, and she had them always littering about, and the sewing-machine seemed to whir—on and on all day and most of the night. Aunt Emma believed in keeping children in their proper places. And they more than returned the compliment. Their idea of Aunt Emma’s proper place was anywhere where they were not. So they saw very little of her. They preferred the company of the servants, who were more amusing. Cook, if in a good temper, could sing comic songs, and the housemaid, if she happened not to be offended with you, could imitate a hen that has laid an egg, a bottle of champagne being opened, and could mew like two cats fighting. The servants never told the children what the bad news was that the gentlemen had brought to Father. But they kept hinting that they could tell a great deal if they chose—and this was not comfortable.

One day when Peter had made a booby trap over the bathroom door, and it had acted beautifully as Ruth passed through, that red-haired parlour-maid caught him and boxed his ears.

You’ll come to a bad end, she said furiously, you nasty little limb, you! If you don’t mend your ways, you’ll go where your precious Father’s gone, so I tell you straight!

Roberta repeated this to her Mother, and next day Ruth was sent away.

Then came the time when Mother came home and went to bed and stayed there two days and the Doctor came, and the children crept wretchedly about the house and wondered if the world was coming to an end.

Mother came down one morning to breakfast, very pale and with lines on her face

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36 оценки / 35 Обзоры
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  • (4/5)
    I listened to a BBC dramtization (or similar) which is far better than the film. I doubt the film could hold the attention of modern kids.
  • (5/5)
    What a classic! A great read for children and adults, and quite realistic railway action to boot.
  • (5/5)
    Something about this book always gets to me. This time it was the effort of the eldest to be good when she couldn't be always, as she struggles to help her mother through her father's mysterious disappearance. I wish I knew if any young people read Nesbit any more, or if this would be a good read aloud for fifth graders.
  • (5/5)
    I love this book. I love trains just as much as books. I enjoyed the charthers in the book. It about a family that has to make adjustment on the fly. I quite enjoyable. I love how this is a Classic. I did not know this book was out there to read while I was growing up. The Children name are Bobby, Phil and Paul.

    If you want to know mare about it what happens I would suggest picking it up. Something happens that causes their father to go away.
  • (3/5)
    What happened to my review? I remember mostly being disappointed, as much of Nesbit I loved. Iirc, this had too much slang, and was too implausible, for me.
  • (5/5)
    I very much liked this story of three children who must move with their mother from the comfort of their well-to-do London home to a small cottage in the country and "play at being poor" while their father is mysteriously away. A bit saccharine, maybe, but a well-written and comfy read nonetheless, with nicely-drawn and sometimes hilarious characters.
  • (5/5)
    This classic children's novel from 1905 is a delight to read, and gently humourous in many places as our heroes, Peter, Phyllis (Phil for short) and Roberta (Bobbie for short) get up to all kinds of adventures in and around the railway, preventing train crashes, putting out fires, rescuing people from dark and dank tunnels and, slightly incongruously, meeting a Russian dissident. There are some nice illustrations in this edition also. I've never seen any of the TV and film adaptations of this, but I intend to seek them out.
  • (5/5)
    it is a great book for all ages.a loveing story about three cildren.how has tots of fun to geather
  • (5/5)
    Read this gem years ago. One of the best children's books ever by one of my favorite children's book authors.
  • (4/5)
    Re-read this lovely classic after a long time. Written in a charming manner about a bygone era from Children's POV. It was a pleasure to read in Puffin Classic paperback.
  • (3/5)
    There were moments that made me grin inanely, but in general this was just a nice read. I love The Five Children and It, The Phoenix and the Carpet and The Story of the Amulet, but this doesn't quite reach the same heights. Still, it was a nice, restful, enjoyable read.
  • (4/5)
    I love reading children's books, particularly classics like this. 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 they move to a smaller house near a railway station.

    The book mostly follows the lives of the children, who no longer go to school so 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.
  • (3/5)
    A book I've been meaning to read for a very long time. These days the language of the book is a little dated but I can see how, in 1906 when it was first published, it would have become very popular with the targeted audience. A lovely tale of three children learning to deal with what life throws at them, at times overly sentimental but that could just be me, reading a children's book in 2016, that is over 100 years old.
  • (5/5)
    This book was all about the life of three children: Phyllis, Peter and Roberta (though she likes to be called Bobbie instead). The children's father mysteriously goes away, and none of them know why except Mother. They move house into the countryside and begin to live very poor. There the children make good friends with the people of the railway, and love the railway itself.

    Their father goes for a very long time. When the children wave to an old friend of theirs, which they call 'The Old Gentleman', they are doing it for the purpose of him to send their love to Father.

    With many rescues and great journeys, the children have great fun and a brilliant time. But they are also sad - they miss Father so much, and yet they don't think Mother is happy. "How can we cheer her up?" they ask each other. "If she's not happy, she never will be until Father comes back, will she?" and the simple questions are: WILL Father come back? And if not, WILL the children or Mother be happy again?

    Wonderful book! Terrific! I like the phrases Nesbit uses - "don't let's quarrel, now!" - "Oh, rot!" - "Yes, Mother. Of course we will, ducky-dear." - it's all very funny, since we usually don't speak like that anymore, but it also gives a touch of what Nesbit DID speak like when she was still around.
  • (4/5)
    In the great tradition of British children’s literature, Nesbit’s name is always mentioned with reverence. This is my first book of her’s but I can’t wait to recommend her to my nieces and nephews. The story, published in 1906, is about an English family whose father is accused of espionage and imprisoned. His role is rarely mentioned (think of the father in Little Women) and is more notable in his absence than presence. The children walk to the railway station almost every day and make friends with the regular travelers. They also help an ailing Russian man who is looking for his family. Their mother is strong and supportive, shielding her kids from knowing about their struggles.BOTTOM LINE: The sweet story is a perfect one to read aloud with young kids. The adventures are very episodic and would work well being spread out over the course of a week or two. It reminded me of Swallows and Amazons, another good British children’s book.
  • (3/5)
    A beautifully written book, though definitely from another time. Three siblings and their mother leave their London home for the countryside because some men come to take their father away. What follows are a series of mini-adventures, mostly concerning the Railway and surrounding areas where the children express themselves through kindness and good deeds.

    The reason I enjoyed this book so much was, not just for the wonderful old-fashioned language you find in books such as these (calling someone a brick always amuses me), but because it holds a very important message and that is you are not worth how much money you have. The children move from, not an unseemly amount of wealth, but definitely enough to afford a privileged lifestyle to barely being able to afford warming their house, resorting in the children "borrowing" coal in lieu of a game.
    The whole point of life is to better yourself and it's quite difficult to do that when you're born in to money. But the children better themselves despite this, and in so many different ways it's hard to look back on this time and envy them for being able to live in it.
  • (3/5)
    Originally published serially in The London Magazine, E. Nesbit's childhood classic The Railway Children was first released as a book in 1906, and follows the story of three siblings - Bobbie (Roberta), Peter and Phyllis - who find their lives mysteriously transformed when their father is taken away one night, and they must move to the country with their mother. Here, at Three Chimneys house, the children befriend the locals, observe the railway - which becomes a central facet of their lives - and attempt to resolve the issue of their father's disappearance. When the three learn that he has been accused of espionage, they are determined to prove his innocence, a project in which they are aided by the Old Gentleman, a regular railroad passenger whom they have befriended...A book I have read many times, mostly recently for a course in children's literature, The Railway Children is an engaging story of three young people and their many adventures. It reflects the late-Victorian fascination with trains and the railroad - which are here the means of freeing an innocent man, and reuniting a family - as well as its creator's social views and interests. It's tempting to see a little of Nesbit in the children's mother, who bravely picks up her pen to earn a living for the family, when her husband is taken away, or to see the emphasis put on helping others in the right way - the importance of giving aid that is not perceived as charity, for instance, to avoid wounding the pride and self-respect of others - as a reflection of the author's views as a Fabian. However interesting any such references may be, this is also a book that has appeal as a story, one in which a happy family is torn apart, before eventually being reunited. The children's adventures in between make for entertaining reading!
  • (4/5)
    A big part of me goes, "Oh boy! A bunch of rich kids meddle in everyone's affairs and of course fix everything with the power of their pluck and sheer Britishness! Great!" but I can't deny that these kids are pretty damn likable and that Nesbit has a real way with writing from a child's perspective.
  • (4/5)
    Roberta (Bobbie), Peter and Phyllis (Phil) lead a happy suburban life, with plenty of toys, treats to eat, nice clothes and servants to tend to the chores. But one evening two men come to the house and take Father away with them when they leave. Mother makes the best of things; selling many of their finer possessions, packing up the necessities and moving them to a cottage in the country, where she earns a meager living writing stories. Three Chimneys is comfortable if less spacious than their original home, and the children find much to do and make new friends among the villagers. They are particularly drawn to the railway station and to watching the trains that run past.

    This is a delightful classic of children’s literature. The children have many adventures, but behave like children throughout. They squabble and let their imaginations run away with them, but try very hard to be good when they notice how unhappy their Mother is. They sometimes misunderstand realities, but that’s to be expected given the times and how hard the adults try to shield them from the realities of some situations.

    I love how inventive they are in their play (I especially liked the scene where they were trying to enact billboard advertisements), and how they display loyalty, courage and compassion. They are children, however, and are bound to misbehave, but they are appropriately contrite and accept their reprimands with honest promises to try harder in the future.

    I’d read Nesbit’s Five Children and It series when I was in middle school, but never read any of her other works. Thanks to the member who mentioned this work recently, or I would never have thought to revisit her writings. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
  • (3/5)
    There were two sisters and one brother,Bobbie,Phyllis and Peter. They were very happy but the awful change came suddenly. Their father was led away by stranger. Presently, they moved to countryside. The children had a daily routine of seeing trains. They got to know the Station Master and the old gentleman. They became good friends,but their mother got ill through overwork. They were at a loss so they wrote a letter to the old gentleman. He gave them a basket full of food. Their mother recovered from ill.One day they found a land slide.Their action prevented an accident. The rail way company conferred on a title “Rail way children” on them.I like this book. This story must be an old story but I really enjoyed it. I think these children are very brave. I could see the importance of brothers and sisters through this story, because they always together and help each other.
  • (4/5)
    1993, BBC Audiobooks, Full Cast DramatizationBook Description: from BookDepository.comThis is a BBC Radio full-cast dramatization of E. Nesbit's enchanting and unforgettable classic. Roberta, Peter and Phyllis lead an ordinary suburban life with Mother and Father and trips to the zoo and the pantomime. But when Father is mysteriously taken away one night, everything changes. The children must move to the country, to a little white cottage near the railway line, where eventually they find that there are plenty of adventures to be had and friends to be made – including Perks the Porter and the Station Master himself. But the mystery remains – what has happened to Father, and will he come back? The story of Roberta, Peter and Phyllis and their life in the country has never been out of print since it was first published in 1906. Charming, sentimental and unforgettable, the novel retains all its enchantment and enduring appeal in this BBC Radio full-cast dramatization.My Review: Thoroughly enjoyed Nesbit’s The Railway Children and cannot say enough good about the full cast dramatization: it is superbly done. The simple, charming, ordinary suburban lives of Roberta, Peter, and Phyllis made me appreciate having grown up before our world became its present frantic, high-tech society of progress. Favourite characters are Perks and the Station Master. Most memorable scene is Perks’ birthday, on which the children bring a host of gifts from themselves and from neighbours. Perks is adamant he will not take what he sees as charity, but when the children read to him the messages from his neighbours, he comes to understand that his neighbours are not patronizing him but rather appreciating him as a valued friend and member of his community.
  • (4/5)
    Again E. Nesbit shows herself expert at showing-not-telling, and at writing for anyone and everyone. With the story told from the point of view of the children, and aimed at children, all anyone under a certain height level is going to understand is that the father of the family goes away one night and does not come back, and the mother tells the three that he is away on business – and everything changes. Mother is upset or sad all the time, even when pretending otherwise. The children are made to understand that they are now poor – for a while. And almost overnight they pick up and leave their home – taking all the furniture the children deem "ugly" and Mother deems "useful", but few of their pretty things – and move out to a cottage in the country and Mother begins writing most of the day and far into the night. And Father does not come back. I can't think how this story could be told more poignantly than as it is, obliquely through the children's eyes. Peter and Roberta (Bobbie) and Phyllis are, of course, bright children, and good ones, well brought up and attentive and conscientious – but they are wrapped in the happy oblivion of what seems to have been an upper middle class upbringing, wanting for no essential and few non-essentials, a world in which it is utterly and in all other ways inconceivable that anyone could ever dream their father did anything wrong. As it happens, of course, they are correct, but even had their father been in truth Jack the Ripper they would have been difficult to convince. They are essentially self-involved, viewing the world only as it affects them; for Peter and Phyllis it is enough that their mother tells them their father is away on business and they mustn't worry. They are upset when she is upset, but otherwise they are content and involved in their own lives. Bobbie is more attentive, more outwardly focused, and seems to step away from her childhood with this book. Mother is, in this story, utterly brilliant – and I don't think that's just because the point of view is thoroughly sympathetic. She does a tremendous job of protecting her children – whisking them away from their old environment before they can hear a whisper of what has really happened to their father. And of course the children are brilliant too. Roberta especially is rather magnificent. I love the narrator's frank statement that she hopes the reader does not mind her paying particular attention to Bobbie, but she has become rather a favorite. And I also love the equally frank assessment of her tendency to a) interfere or b) help lame dogs over stiles or c) help others, depending on who you ask – she can't help herself from making every effort to do something, and feels things very deeply, and this does not always make for easy relations with others. The realism of E. Nesbit's writing is a bit dinged by the heroic role of the children during the summer of the story. Not to spoil things, but the events the three of them become involved in might, individually, be acceptable; all together it's a little bit ridiculous. But for the original target audience it would be so much fun. For me, a good bit older than the target? Also fun – and I admit to choking up at the climax. Oh, and Karen Savage, the narrator of the Librivox recording? Absolutely terrific.
  • (5/5)
    There is something perfectly lovely about all E. Nesbit's books, and they certainly formed the backdrop to many a day when I was a little girl. Reading this particular book as an adult fills me with not only with pleasure but with a deeper understanding. I could not help but wonder if this story, of a father wrongly accused and imprisoned, was not inspired by the Dreyfus affair, which was certainly preoccupying many people's minds at the time. One of the delights of Nesbit's writing is that she never condescends to her young readers. Complicated questions of justice, of charity, of the freedoms denied others -- there is quite a wonderful sequence involving a Russian political fugitive -- of absent parents and what it means to perform a heroic act. The children learn things indirectly, peeking into the world of adults from around the corners of childhood. It's very well done.One of the things that I noticed most this time around, though, was the amount of freedom children had. Can you imagine children left to play unsupervised in the woods, around a train station, by the train tunnels and tracks themselves? I will be showing my age here, but I recall many days spent wandering by myself in the fields and forests near my childhood home, expected to return only when I got hungry or the streetlights came on. Did I get into some mischief? Yes. Was it a bit dangerous? Yes. And was being left to create a world by myself, and sometimes with other children, good for my imagination, for my sense of independence, for developing a way of being in the world? Undeniably. I wonder, in fact, if I would have become a writer if I hadn't had those days, if I was driven from one place to another, one class to another, one computer to another.Well, that's an essay for another place. Here, I'll simply say it was lovely to visit a world, so beautifully crafted, which probably now exists no where except between the pages of a book. Recommended.
  • (4/5)
    - Audiobook - This book was horrifying! It's a heartwarming story about three children who don't mind that they suddenly become poor, and who are brave and inventive and save people's lives. But children shouldn't have to save people's lives! They save, among others, a baby who is left alone in a BURNING houseboat, an ENTIRE TRAIN full of people whose track is blocked, a boy who gets lost in a train tunnel and breaks his leg, and a Russian man who has been in a Siberian prison camp for years and now needs to find his family. And if the children hadn't done the right thing, PEOPLE WOULD HAVE DIED! And the whole time their father has "mysteriously disappeared" and they had to move out of their big house into a tiny one and their mother works all the time (writing stories) so that they'll just barely have enough money for food.The book was fine but I didn't find it at all lighthearted, and I wouldn't recommend it to kids.
  • (4/5)
    Family oriented books are a great way to get kids to open up and talk about their own experiences. In this book there were two sisters and one brother.It tells the tale of woes taht some poverty stircken families face and how this particualr family worked together and overcame their hardships together. This story may be an old story but It really has rellevant issues taht can be discussed in a classroom setting. This is one of those intrigueing stories because when read aloud the kids can visualize exactly what is going on. We could also incorporate this book in a problem solving lesson. ie.. We could talk about the issues that family faced and what other options they could have tried that may or may not have turned out differently.
  • (2/5)
    Roberta, Peter and Phillis have the perfect life, wonderful parents and all the riches a child could ask for. Then one day, their father gets taken away by two men and put into prison. The children and their mother are forced to move to a small cottage in the country. While their mother writes stories to try and support them, the three children go on many adventures.I felt love of family,and how inportant family is.
  • (4/5)
    I enjoyed this story. One day the father of 3 children left from their house. From that day they're said to be poor by mother. But they didn't know why they should do so. And they face many difficulties, but they also meet good person and thigs. And does their father come or not..?I enjoyed this story. I felt love of family from this story. Family is very important. And the 3 children have so warm heart. I should learn from them!
  • (5/5)
    A wonderful children's book, written more than 100 years ago. It is the story of 3 siblings Roberta (Bobbi), Peter & Phyllis who must move to a small cottage in a little town when their father is mysteriously taken away. They meet many of the town's folk; including Perks the railway Porter and the Old Gentleman, a rider on the train. While their mother writes stories to support them, they go off and have many wonderful adventures. What I especially enjoyed about this book is how real these children were; they argue, fight, make up and behave like "regular" siblings. I would recommend this book for children 8 to 12 years old or for families to enjoy together.
  • (1/5)
    Apparently this is a beloved classic. I would describe it as treacly.Sentimental. Much more about the childrens' emotions than about trains.Endless scenes of the children being responsible and noble and brave.Very much of its time and place, with children saying things like "Bother! I believe I've broken my leg."Morally didactic to the point of being patronising.Might be good for children who are very interested in emotions.
  • (3/5)
    This is one of Nesbit's most popular stories, but not one of my favorites --I prefer her fantasies. This is a relatively realistic book about a family of a mother and 3 children who go to live in a little cottage near a railway station after the father of the family is imprisoned for an obscure crime. The children make friends with the railway staff and with an old gentleman ( railway commuter) who turns out to have enough influence to get their father's case investigated, and he is found innocent. One interesting point is that the mother shares many characteristics with Helen, Philip's sister in The Magic City (my favorite Nesbit) --they are both delightful people with an understanding of children and a gift for storytelling (the mother in this story supports herself by writing children's stories after her husband is imprisoned.) The cover of this version is based on a film version by EMI.