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The Railway Children

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In this much-loved children's classic first published in 1906, the comfortable lives of three well-mannered siblings are greatly altered when, one evening, two men arrive at the house and take their father away. With the family's fortunes considerably reduced in his absence, the children and their mother are forced to live in a simple country cottage near a railway station. There the young trio—Roberta, Peter, and young Phyllis—befriend the porter and station master.

The youngsters' days are filled with adventure and excitement, including their successful attempt to avert a horrible train disaster; but the mysterious disappearance of their father continues to haunt them.

The solution to that painful puzzle and many other details and events of the children's lives come to vivid life in this perennial favorite, a story that has captivated generations of readers and, more recently, delighted television and movie audiences. In this inexpensive, unabridged edition, it will charm a whole new audience of young readers with its warmth and appeal.

188 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1906

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About the author

E. Nesbit

917 books868 followers
Edith Nesbit (married name Edith Bland; 15 August 1858 – 4 May 1924) was an English author and poet; she published her books for children under the name of E. Nesbit.
She wrote or collaborated on over 60 books of fiction for children, several of which have been adapted for film and television. She was also a political activist and co-founded the Fabian Society, a socialist organisation later connected to the Labour Party.

Edith Nesbit was born in Kennington, Surrey, the daughter of agricultural chemist and schoolmaster John Collis Nesbit. The death of her father when she was four and the continuing ill health of her sister meant that Nesbit had a transitory childhood, her family moving across Europe in search of healthy climates only to return to England for financial reasons. Nesbit therefore spent her childhood attaining an education from whatever sources were available—local grammars, the occasional boarding school but mainly through reading.

At 17 her family finally settled in London and aged 19, Nesbit met Hubert Bland, a political activist and writer. They became lovers and when Nesbit found she was pregnant they became engaged, marrying in April 1880. After this scandalous (for Victorian society) beginning, the marriage would be an unconventional one. Initially, the couple lived separately—Nesbit with her family and Bland with his mother and her live-in companion Maggie Doran.

Initially, Edith Nesbit books were novels meant for adults, including The Prophet's Mantle (1885) and The Marden Mystery (1896) about the early days of the socialist movement. Written under the pen name of her third child 'Fabian Bland', these books were not successful. Nesbit generated an income for the family by lecturing around the country on socialism and through her journalism (she was editor of the Fabian Society's journal, Today).

In 1899 she had published The Adventures of the Treasure Seekers to great acclaim.

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5 stars
21,786 (37%)
4 stars
20,038 (34%)
3 stars
12,284 (21%)
2 stars
2,579 (4%)
1 star
1,121 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,246 reviews
Profile Image for Tharindu Dissanayake.
279 reviews478 followers
April 23, 2021
' "Dear Mr. We do not know your name.
Mother is ill and the doctor says to give her the things at the end of the letter, but she says she can't aford it, and to get mutton for us and she will have the broth. We do not know anybody here but you, because Father is away and we do not know the address. Father will pay you, or if he has lost all his money, or anything, Peter will pay you when he is a man. We promise it on our honer. I.O.U. for all the things Mother wants. "
sined Peter.
"Will you give the parsel to the Station Master, because of us not knowing what train you come down by? Say it is for Peter that was sorry about the coals and he will know all right.
"Roberta. "Phyllis. "Peter." '

To think, I might not have picked 'The Railway Children' because this is classified as a children's' book... This is an amazing book, and I believe that it has got no age limit. I assure you that you will love the book - irrespective of your age - for it's very hard not to love every part of it. The book packs everything: Humor, love, sorrow, disappointment, privation, joy, empathy and many more. I immediately fell in love with the three siblings, for each of them brought unique characteristics which were quite interesting and amusing at the same time.

' "I suppose I shall HAVE to be married some day," said Peter, "but it will be an awful bother having her round all the time. I'd like to marry a lady who had trances, and only woke up once or twice a year." '

The plot of the book is heartwarming and simply delightful to read. Nesbit has managed to narrate everything so interestingly, so that one won't tempted to put the book down once started. The author also narrates a few sub-plots over the story, each of which were very interesting on their own, which complemented the main story quite nicely. And the ending: it was one of the most satisfying endings I've come across. The Railway Children will definitely go down as one of my all time favorites.

' "Dr. Forrest has been talking scientific to me. No, it's no use my telling you what he said; you wouldn't understand. But it all comes to you girls being poor, soft, weak, frightened things like rabbits, so us men have just got to put up with them. He said you were female beasts. Shall I take this up to Mother, or will you?" '

"Stick to it," said Peter; "everything has an end, and you get to it if you only keep all on."
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,566 reviews55.9k followers
May 19, 2022
The Railway Children, E. Nesbit

The Railway Children is a children's book by Edith Nesbit, originally serialized in The London Magazine during 1905 and first published in book form in 1906. It has been adapted for the screen several times, of which the 1970 film version is the best known.

The story concerns a family who move from London to "The Three Chimneys", a house near the railway in Yorkshire, after the father, who works at the Foreign Office, is imprisoned after being falsely accused of spying. The children befriend an Old Gentleman who regularly takes the 9:15 train near their home; he is eventually able to help prove their father's innocence, and the family is reunited. The family takes care of a Russian exile, Mr. Szczepansky, who came to England looking for his family and Jim, the grandson of the Old Gentleman, who suffers a broken leg in a tunnel. ...

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: سال1977میلادی

عنوان: بچه های راه آهن؛ نویسنده: ادیت نسبیت (نزبیت)، مترجم پری منصوری (کیانوش)، تهران، نشر کانون پرورش فکری کودکان و نوجوانان، سال1355، در321ص؛ چاپ سوم سال1379، در321ص؛ شابک ایکس-964432224؛ چاپ چهارم سال1388؛ شابک9789644322242؛ چاپ دیگر نشر کانون، سال1394؛ در254ص؛ شابک9786000103781؛ چاپ دوم سال1396؛ چاپ دیگر تهران، نشر زرین قلم؛ 1378؛ در321ص؛ شابک9645939061؛ موضوع داستانهای نوجوانان از نویسندگان بریتانیا - سده20م

مترجمین دیگر: پروین قائمی، انتشارات درنا، سال1375، در112ص؛ شیما فتاحی، نشر قدیانی، سال1386؛ و سال1391، در293ص؛ فاطمه سلطانی، اردبیل، نشر آذر سبلان، 1378، در32ص؛ و دیگران

فرزندان یک پولدار «فیلیس»، «پیتر»، «روبرتا»، و «بابی»، هستند؛ که زندگی خوبی را در شهر می‌گذرانند؛ پدر آن‌ها کارمند و مردی مهربان است، و همیشه برای بازی کردن با بچه‌ ها آماده است؛ سپس یکروز، دو مرد با هیبتی جدی به خانه آن‌ها می‌آیند، و با پدر، در خلوت گفتگو می‌کنند؛ کودکان صدای پاهای بسیاری را می‌شنوند، و پس از نیم‌ ساعت گفتگو، پدر با آن دو مرد، سوار ارابه می‌شود، و می‌رود، در حالیکه مادر، با سر و هیبتی آشفته، از راه می‌رسد، و تنها سخنی که به آن‌ها می‌گوید، این است «پدرتان برای چندگاهی به خانه نخواهد آمد، در این میان ما باید زندگی تهیدستانه ای را بگذرانیم»؛ در پاسخ «بابی» که می‌پرسد: «پدر کجا رفته؟»، تنها پاسخ می‌دهد: «برای کار»؛ خانه ی تازه و ساده ی آن‌ها، در روستایی نزدیک به راه‌ آهن قرار دارد، و بچه‌ ها با ماندن در آنجا، «بچه‌ های راه‌ آهن» می‌شوند؛ آن‌ها زمان رهسپاری همه قطارها، آغازانه و پایانه ی آن‌ها را می‌دانند؛ به زودی، ماجراهای تازه ای در زندگی آن‌ها آغاز می‌شود، از یک پیرمرد ناشناس یاری می‌خواهند، یک قطار را نجات می‌دهند، پنهانی وارد یک قطار می‌شوند و، ...؛

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 14/05/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 28/02/1401هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Jan-Maat.
1,535 reviews1,789 followers
January 24, 2019
The shock involved in crying over a children's book that endorses theft, children soliciting favours from old men, and frequent acts of trespass on to Railway property is hard to describe.

As is the dislocation in reading a Father tell his son that girls are as clever as boys before inviting his daughter to consider a railway career, and a man with a Polish surname imprisoned in Siberia for offending the Russian state. Still, I am fairly sure that this was published in 1906 and not 2006, afterall there was a film with Bernard Cribbins and Jennifer Agutter wasn't there?

Anyway, the timetable requires that this review moves out of the station, and as it emerges between the platforms and buildings we can see something of the structure of the novel. There are three rescues performed by the children the last rescue triggers the last of the three guests who stay in the house .

Structurally there is a transition from realism to metafiction, with metafiction in the form of 'if this was a story x and y would happen' acting to reassure the child reader . If in the early stages of the book Nesbit is keen to stress realism - it is so cold the children have to steal coal, and they are so poor that they have to eat bread and butter or bread and jam, then by the end she offers increasingly the consolation that this is only a story, and stories have a proper resolution, in this case the restoration of the family unit. As readers, particularly early 21st century adult readers, we can doubt that this will be a return to how things were because of the changed role of the author and mother figure, still for the child the promise of stability and certainty is there to provide the appearance of satisfactory closure - here we note that Nesbit closes the story without any resolution between husband and wife, only between father and daughter - in the circumstances the more straightforward relationship.

For me the kindly old gentleman is too much of a deus ex machina, resolving as he does three problems , the story would work better if he turned out to be Apollo rather than a Railway Director. Its a bit too much of a paean to Capitalism that a railway director is able to perform all the functions of the Red Cross in reuniting families and feeding the hungry in addition to his day job, then again Nesbit is maybe telling us that in her turn of the century world a Railway Director is Apollo. On the other hand the transformative power of kindness to others provides the moral framework that marks out the countryside as a special zone in contrast to the capital. The interpersonal dynamic possible in the conditions of hardship in the countryside allow the children to be changed and to change those around them. Despite the apparent realism it functions as a fairyland. Things are possible there that are impossible in the city. If we go back to Dickens the dynamic is the other way round - the city is the place of transformation, but with time the perspective has flipped, the city has become stagnant, a place of crime and threat, while the countryside has become regenerative as though an entire generation of authors had never read, or turned their backs on, Thomas Hardy.

Another way to look at the structure is that in the beginning we are in an adult structured world. It appears secure, but its foundations are weak. The children build a new world and restore the unity of the family, but the foundations of their new world are not built upon the uncertain shifting surface of contractual relationships, but instead upon friendship. It is the children's ability to make friends and repeatedly act with good intentions that leads to the resolution of the story. This is a book that is straining at the limits of society and offering up a fundamentally humane vision of a new society.

On that point is this perhaps the last, or one of the last, Victorian novels. Britain was on the brink of the reforms of the last Liberal Government which was to take office in the same year as The Railway Children was published. In would come free school meals, local education authorities, and the banning of children from pubs - so much for the happy Railway Children buying up brandy and warning boozing bargemen about their burning boats!
Profile Image for Dhanaraj Rajan.
447 reviews302 followers
March 30, 2017
Question: Why do I read Children's Literature?
Answer: I read them because they are feel good stories and they fill you to the brim with hopes. They teach you great lessons through simple actions and easy sentences.

Question: Did The Railway Children fulfill these expectations?
Answer: Certainly. My Four Stars rating is the proof of that.

Question: Why not a Five star rating?
Answer: Unfortunately I fell in the trap of comparison game. I compared it with other books of similar genre that had received five star rating (Heidi) and I think it fell short of few points.

Question: What did you learn?
Answer: Many things. Among them the best lesson I think was that if you make yourself friends with everyone no matter what their statuses are you will have a happy life. It may not be easy. But here is the hint given in the book about how to be friends. It reads: I THINK EVERYONE IN THE WORLD IS FRIENDS IF YOU CAN ONLY GET THEM TO SEE YOU DON'T WANT TO BE UN-FRIENDS.

Question: Is the story about friendships?
Answer: Yes. It is about a lovely family with three kids. When the family is reduced to poverty they are forced to move to a village from the town of London. There they make friends with everything possible - the railways that is close to their home and people associated with railway. Such friendships carry them in their difficulties. They forget their sufferings and in fact the friendships bring in the good news that they had always waited for.

Question: Any other thoughts?
Answer: We are also taught a lesson that if we are good to others the good things will befall in our lives too. And there are many more lessons. Read the novel and learn for yourself. Or if you are an adult read the story to your kids or nephews/nieces and let them learn by themselves.
Profile Image for Heba.
995 reviews1,894 followers
August 5, 2022
لقد بات كل شيء كالحلم...كما لو كان منذ زمن بعيد....
الأب قد غاب عن البيت لأسباب مجهولة ..، تضطر الأم بصحبة أطفالها الثلاثة لمغادرة حياتهم البهيجة لينتقلوا إلى بيت ريفي صغير ...وبعد اكتشاف الثلاثة لسكة الحديد القريبة من البيت...تنطلق أنت معهم في سلسلة من المغامرات الجريئة والنبيلة...بمشاركة رئيس المحطة ، سائق القطار والحمّال وغيرهم ...
تشعر حيالها بالافتتان..والحماسة ..والابتهاج بالرغم من الحزن الذي يسكن قلوبهم لافتقادهم والدهم ...تمتعوا جميعاً بشجاعة لا مثيل لها لمقاومة خذلان الحياة والفقد وفقر الحال...
هل يمكن أن تقع في غرام سكة الحديد ..هدير القطار القادم من بعيد...وميض نوافذه المضاءة...قعقعة العجلات على القضبان الحديدية...صفارة الإيذان بدخول المحطة...الدخان المتصاعد في الهواء..الأيادي الملوحة بمناديلها ...الزفرات المُنهكة على زجاج النوافذ تتوق للقاء...؟
هل يمكن أن ينقل القطار الحب لمن نفتقد من أحبتنا ؟...
أجل...أعدك بأنك ستقع في غرام كل ذاك وأنا على يقين بأن القطار يوصل الرسائل لأصحابها حتى وإن لم يلتقيهم...
الأحداث السعيدة تحصل ، اليس كذلك ..؟..
فنحن نحيا من أجل تلك اللحظات...
Profile Image for Dannii Elle.
2,009 reviews1,401 followers
September 1, 2020
Recently, I have been going through a phase of revisiting my favourite childhood reads to see if they still garner the same awe and satisfaction when read as an adult. This, I was happy to discover, is as beloved to me now as when I first read it as a child.

My younger self appreciated the focus on sibling bonds - from their minor feuds to their lasting camaraderie - but my older self has discovered the darker and more harrowing story-line, that I either seem to have prior missed or that had completely slipped my recollection. I believe that these new-found elements to the story are what my current adoration centres around. This is proof that literature aimed at a younger audience does not have to skimp on the emotions it can elicit or is forbidden from traversing on subject matters of a sensitive nature.
Profile Image for Bhavya .
476 reviews829 followers
September 6, 2021
“Don't you think it's rather nice to think that we're in a book that God's writing? If I were writing the book, I might make mistakes. But God knows how to make the story end just right—in the way that's best for us.”

~ Rating- 5 stars ~

Are you in a bad mood? Want to cheer yourself up? Or do you just want to read a book that will make you feel happy?

The Railway Children is the book for you.

“Also she had the power of silent sympathy. That sounds rather dull, I know, but it's not so dull as it sounds. It just means that a person is able to know that you are unhappy, and to love you extra on that account, without bothering you by telling you all the time how sorry she is for you.”

The Railway Children is a book with a simple plot, not-very memorable characters but excellent writing.

In fact, while I am writing this review, around 15 days after reading the book, I can't remember much of what exactly happened. But what I do remember the feeling while reading, and after reading The Railway Children.

This book brought me a lot of joy. It made me feel oddly nostalgic, and I know for a fact this book is going to become a comfort read for me.

The Railway Children is a book I'd urge everyone to pick up, just so you can feel as happy as I did while reading it. :)

“Our darling Roberta,
No sorrow shall hurt her
If we can prevent it
Her whole life long.
Her birthday's our fete day,
We'll make it our great day,
And give her our presents
And sing her our song.
May pleasures attend her
And may the Fates send her
The happiest journey
Along her life's way.
With skies bright above her
And dear ones to love her!
Dear Bob! Many happy
Returns of the day!”

DISCLAIMER- All opinions on books I’ve read and reviewed are my own, and are with no intention to offend anyone. If you feel offended by my reviews, let me know how I can fix it.

How I Rate-
1 star- Hardly liked anything/ was disappointed
2 star- Had potential but did not deliver/ was disappointed
3 stars- Was ok but could have been better/ was average / Enjoyed a lot but something was missing
4 stars- Loved a lot but something was missing
5 stars- Loved it/ new favourite


5 stars

I think this the kind of book that makes you feel nostalgic and at home. It’s the that will give you warm fuzzy vibes and it’s exactly the book I needed.

Detailed review to come.

This is my third 5 star in a row, which is a good thing. Hope this good luck stays.
Profile Image for Manny.
Author 28 books13.5k followers
September 23, 2014
Pilot for the Celebrity Death Match Review Tournament, The Railway Children versus Atlas Shrugged

It's a capacity crowd tonight at the Surrealist Boxing Stadium, and everyone's wondering if The Railway Children have a chance against Atlas Shrugged. I can see them in the blue corner, I must say they look nervous, they know they're behind on weight and reach but their supporters are out in force, that's always worth a lot, Bobbie is trying to calm Phyllis, she's whispering something in her ear. And it's the bell, Atlas Shrugged goes straight for them, oh no, she's already got the children's father arrested, we could be looking at a first round knockout here, but the mother rallies, she's ducking and weaving and she's managed to get the kids off to Yorkshire, they move into their new home. The ref is calling time, and I see there's a railway going right past their back garden, I think it's a Taggart line, this is more exciting than we dared hope.

The rest of this review is available elsewhere (the location cannot be given for Goodreads policy reasons)
Profile Image for Ivonne Rovira.
1,861 reviews191 followers
January 23, 2016
Children who have grown up with Matilda, The Dumb Bunnies or The Cat in the Hat can't really appreciate what an advance Edith Nesbit's The Railway Children actually was. For the first time, an author wrote about children who weren't miniature adults, who weren't preternaturally perfect, but who were flesh-and-blood children, children who quarreled and worried and snapped at one another when they grew fatigued or anxious.

Nesbit also provides a somewhat realistic view into the Edwardian period: When their father gets sent to prison, only their mother's writing keeps Roberta (Bobbie), Peter and Phyllis from utter destitution. As young as they are, the children can no longer attend school, as their mother can't afford the school fees. Indeed, Bobbie has to serve as babysitter for her younger siblings. The only unrealistic bit is that they're able to keep a servant at all. Despite that, I thoroughly enjoyed this fairytale story of the falsely accused prisoner and of how a good deed for another falsely accused man creates a sort of karma that brings on the happy ending.

The story, while sweet, never becomes saccharine. Definitely worth a read, whether you're an adult or child.
Profile Image for Muhammad Ahmed Siddiqui.
163 reviews72 followers
February 16, 2015
changed my mind this is a 5 STAR BOOK

I am overwhelmed by the emotions and was hungover for a day. The whole journey throughout this book was magical. It was nostalgic. It was beautiful.

This book tells the story of three children whose father is taken away by the police and they have to live with their mother in poverty nearside a railway station.

If poverty is living in a wonderful countryside, meeting with lively people, roaming around free and exploring new areas then I will happily accept it and of course the ending is great.

Some wonderful lessons from this book :

“Also she had the power of silent sympathy. That sounds rather dull, I know, but it's not so dull as it sounds. It just means that a person is able to know that you are unhappy, and to love you extra on that account, without bothering you by telling you all the time how sorry she is for you.”

“Don't you think it's rather nice to think that we're in a book that God's writing? If I were writing the book, I might make mistakes. But God knows how to make the story end just right—in the way that's best for us.”

“everything has an end, and you get to it if you only keep all on.”
18 reviews
December 4, 2013
One thing I've noticed while reading "the classics" is that most of them center around female characters. I find that interesting, especially when you look over American educational statistics and see that girls generally fair much better at English class than boys. Perhaps this could be a reason?

It was a relief, then, to read The Railway Children and discover that female and male characters get equal play in this book. In fact, it was the favorite book of a male friend of mine when he was little, which just proves my point. Like most classics, this book was first published in the early 1900s, but there are surprisingly few outdated references - most obviously, the lack of electricity in every home.

The story centers around three children, Roberta, Phyllis, and Peter. They are pampered (but not annoying), wealthy, and generally have a pretty tame life until the night that their father is taken away. Suddenly, they are forced to move out of their home to a tiny, rundown cottage in the country, and their mother is now perpetually busy writing childrens' stories so that they can afford to buy food and coal to heat the cottage. At no point are the children told why their father is now missing, and this taints their attempts for a care-free life.

Like most childrens' and young adults' books, this one has a variety of adventures that always end with the children on top. They save a baby from a burning houseboat, the girls' red petticoats help save an entire train full of passengers, and Roberta's pidgin French rescues a Russian immigrant who has lost his money and family. The book is full of little adventures and mini-dramas, and I really liked how eventually, the children's good attitude sets into swing a series of events that bring their father home. Sometimes books like this one can be really trite and the ending spoiled by a bad plot, but this one totally escapes that. Nesbit also shows a really thorough understanding of how children would feel in every situation.

Even though this is a children's book, I think it could be enjoyed by every age. My copy is illustrated by Dinah Dryhurst, so if you can, try to get a copy with her illustrations. They are beautiful and really enhance the story.
Profile Image for Piyangie.
508 reviews389 followers
August 14, 2020
The Railway Children is the best children's book that I read as an adult. It has the quality to capture both children and adults alike. Of course, it is a children's book but with a mature plot and a touch of realism. The story is not only about the "railway children", but also about the adults who are connected with them. And there is much to learn for both children and adults from this beautiful story.

When Roberta, Peter, and Phyllis had to move from their comfortable home with their mother and to live in poverty in a house near the railway, they all learn the importance of being united, supportive and courageous to endure this difficult phase of their lives. The mysterious disappearance of their father troubles them, but their prime concern is being supportive and taking care of their mother who struggles single-handedly to provide for them. The bond between the mother and the children is very sweet and strong. Their togetherness, their reliance on the strengths of each other, their perseverance, and mostly their kindness and goodness to each other, friends, and strangers alike show how nobly one can live even in trying times and enjoy the gift of life.

Such a compelling children's book I've never read. There are quite a number of children's books that I adore, but The Railway Children top them all. The story was so beautiful and so realistic that at times I quite forgot that I was reading a work of fiction. It was such a captivating and satisfactory read. I enjoyed it very much.
Profile Image for Loretta.
297 reviews155 followers
August 28, 2020
I feel that there are many children’s classics that should have been read when one was young. For me, this was one of those classics. It was a nice enough story with each chapter filled with a good, solid, moral message for children, but again, as the story evolved, the ending was “tied up in a bow” and the characters world was set right again. Three stars for the writing.
Profile Image for Jessaka.
870 reviews105 followers
July 3, 2021

While not every child would like this book, and while not every adult would either, I think it is great for both. As for an adult, it is a little nostalgia that keeps the interest. Like a good Nancy Drew book or The Little House in the Woods series.

I never heard of this book until a month ago when my friend told me about it. She is in our book group and prefers children’s books because they are, well, I forgot why she loves them, but I can see why she loves this one.

It is a story about a family living in England many years ago, like maybe in the 20s or 30s. I know I should look it up, but maybe it doesn’t matter.

The father of the family was taken away one day, and the mother didn’t tell her three children why. But with only her income now, they had to move into a small house near a railway Station. The mother made money from writing books.

The children were free-range children as many of us were in those days. When means we were able to roam the country or a town by ourselves. No supervision until a clerk chased us out of a store or a farmer off his property. This also means that they had a lot of adventures and could have come to harm. But this is so much better than staying in your back yard or in your room playing video games.

One day, one of the children, a girl named Bobby, went to the railway station and hopped on the train in order to speak to someone on it. The train pulled out, and she had her little adventure of being far away from home. How would she get back?

On another occasion, the children saw a group of trees walking. Time to run home, I say.

And then they had to try to save some people on a train that was headed for disaster.

There was no shortage of adventures in this children’s classic.
Profile Image for Luisa Knight.
2,727 reviews680 followers
February 14, 2020
Did you know that C.S. Lewis was greatly influenced by E. Nesbit’s literature? He adopted a similar writing style and mannerism to hers. In fact, he went as far as to mention the children in this story, the Bastable children, in his book The Magician’s Nephew. (Now you want to go back and read it, don’t you!).

So if you’re a Lewis fan, you’ll be delighted with this book and will enjoy discovering what aided his inspiration.

And if you’re not a Lewis fan, well, first you should take yourself in for a check-up because something is decidedly the matter with your composition, and secondly, you’ll still like this book because it’s about children who say the funniest of things, siblings who love each other and the odd situations they find themselves in.

Take, for instance, the time when all the children became shy in front of the old gentleman they owed so much too.

“Oh,” said Phyllis, “my heart’s thumping like a steam-engine – right under my sash, too.”

“Nonsense,” said Peter, “people’s hearts aren’t under their sashes.”

“I don’t care – mine is,” said Phyllis.

“If you’re going to talk like a poetry-book,” said Peter, “my heart’s in my mouth.”

“My heart’s in my boots – if you come to that,” said Roberta.

Or the time the children were invited to an awards ceremony for an act of bravery they performed and thought they might be given a medal.

“Perhaps it’ll be medals. Then when I’m very old indeed, I shall show them to my grandchildren and say, ‘We only did our duty,’ and they’ll be awfully proud of me.”

“You have to be married,” warned Phyllis, “or you don’t have any grandchildren.”

“I suppose I shall have to be married some day,” said Peter, “but it will be an awful bother having her round all the time. I’d like to marry a lady who had trances, and only woke up once or twice a year.”

“Just to say you were the light of her life and then go to sleep again. Yes. That wouldn’t be bad,” said Bobbie.

“When I get married,” said Phyllis, “I shall want him to want me to be awake all the time, so that I can hear him say how nice I am.”

“I think it would be nice,” said Bobbie, “to marry some one very poor, and then you’d do all the work and he’d love you most frightfully, and see the blue wood smoke curling up among the trees from the domestic hearth as he came home from work every night.”

Each of the children think their mother is a dear and love her to pieces. And who wouldn’t when she loves and cares for them so, holds up bravely while her husband is gone and works so hard writing stories so the children have food to eat and beds to sleep in.

She gives them such good advice too. When Peter is sad and asks if she would enjoy writing a story where they’re all together, Father too, she says:

“Don’t you think it’s rather nice to think that we’re in a book that God’s writing? If I were writing the book, I might make mistakes. But God knows how to make the story end just right – in the way that’s best for us.”

“Do you really believe that, Mother?” Peter asked quietly.

“Yes,” she said, “I do believe it – almost always – except when I’m so sad that I can’t believe anything. But even when I can’t believe it, I know it’s true – and I try to believe it.”

It’s delightful. You and your children will like this one!

P.S. And if you are tempted to go read The Magician’s Nephew, you won’t have to read far to find where they’re mentioned. Really. But that’s the only clue I’ll give, Sherlock.


Children's Bad Words
Mild Obscenities and Substitutions - 9 Incidents: stupid, blooming, shut up, bloomin', drat, rot, chuck it, rubbish
Name Calling - 10 Incidents: goody-goody, nasty little limb, Jap, silly cuckoo, beastly little Sunday-school prig, coward, horrid, beast
Religious Profanity - 10 Incidents: goodness' sake, Lor love you, Lord help me, lawk a mercy, Gee whillikins, oh my heavens

Religious & Supernatural - 1 Incident: A song is listed and mentions the "Fates" - "May the Fates send her the happiest journey..."

Violence - 2 Incidents: Children refer to "Roman martyrs" and being burned. Mentions a man, Latimer, who was burned.

Romance Related - 2 Incidents: A boy holds a girl's hand to try to calm her. It is noted that "it was really good of him, because he was like most boys of his age and hated all material tokens of affection, such as kissing and holding hands." Breast pocket - not sexual

Attitudes/Disobedience - 7 Incidents: A boy claims to have a cold, which was at the time false, but he has cold symptoms the next day. A child explains hiding a plan because it "might be wrong."
A child feels uncomfortable for taking coal from the station. A child "straighten(s) out" a matter between the station master and himself after stealing coal. A child says that something is on fire and that "Serve(s) him right." A child notes that his brother told a lie and "though he thought it was a lie, was rather good of Peter." A boy claims it's his turn and a quarrel starts.

Conversation Topics - 1 Incident: Cigar, champagne, stout, port wine, sweetbrier and brandy (for medicine) are mentioned.

Parent Takeaway
The family is close-knit and care deeply for each other. The children often try to help their mother with the heavy load she carries. As is customary with many children's classics and books written before the 1950s, if there is any bad behavior exhibited by the children in the story, the narration always clarifies this by saying something like, "the children knew they had been naughty and felt very sorry afterwards."

**Like my reviews? Then you should follow me! Because I have hundreds more just like this one. With each review, I provide a Cleanliness Report, mentioning any objectionable content I come across so that parents and/or conscientious readers (like me) can determine beforehand whether they want to read a book or not. Content surprises are super annoying, especially when you’re 100+ pages in, so here’s my attempt to help you avoid that!

So Follow or Friend me here on GoodReads! You’ll see my updates as I’m reading and know which books I’m liking and what I’m not finishing and why. You’ll also be able to utilize my library for looking up titles to see whether the book you’re thinking about reading next has any objectionable content or not. From swear words, to romance, to bad attitudes (in children’s books), I cover it all!
Profile Image for Maria Olga Lectoraapasionada.
307 reviews102 followers
February 21, 2021
Qué amable y deliciosa lectura fue la de esta novela, de estos libros qué hay que disfrutarles y saborearles con su lectura, la sinopsis ya explica de qué trata esta dulce historia, trae un prólogo fantástico, de ahí que no voy a reseñar algo que ya está escrito, porque está todo lo posible reseñado en ese prólogo.

Tiene pequeñas escenas en las que me emocione, pero sobre todo cada dos por tres soltaba una carcajada con las ocurrencias y las travesuras de estos tres pequeños.

Pero son travesuras perdonables, porque todo lo hacen con el afán de ayudar a las personas, sin mala intención y cada travesura está explicada y razonada de una manera tan bonita...

Tiene muchas escenas dulces, emocionantes, irónicas y preciosas, pero me quedo con esta, cuando Peter cree haber encontrado una mina y se le ocurre llevarse el carbón a las Tres Chimeneas.

Hay dulzura e inocencia, hay ironía, hay tantas cosas en este libro, en conclusión pase unas muy agradables horas con su lectura, una lectura llena de grandes mensajes, de bondad, y de una gran sabiduría.

Me encanta el título de este libro, porque igual también sale alguno diciendo que se debe cambiar el título y alguna cosa más que se relata en él.

Esta vez no hay extractos del libro, me los dejo apuntados en un archivo de Word y subrayados en el libro.

Hasta aquí puedo contar, las aventuras de esta novela mejor leerlas a que te las cuenten.

Posdata: Pero nunca olvidéis que la historia que cuenta un libro no siempre es igual.
Profile Image for Scarlet.
187 reviews1,150 followers
June 6, 2017
Listened to a Librivox recording of this classic during a nine-hour car ride. It kept me entertained throughout the journey (and also helped to keep carsickness at bay). I would probably have enjoyed this a lot more had I read this in my early teens, when I was obsessed with authors like Enid Blyton. It's a charming, feel-good children's story with a cast of precocious kids who have their share of adventures while also rescuing a couple of people and brightening up the lives of the town folk in general. Lots of convenient plot twists and a neat happy ending, but since this is a children's book, I can't judge it too harshly.
Profile Image for Shaikha Alkhaldi.
393 reviews143 followers
December 24, 2019
لمن أراد قراءة بعض كتب دار المنى باهضة الثمن، عليه بقراءة نفس عناوين الدار بطبعات قديمة وترجمات أف��ل.
النسخة التي أنهيتها اسمها الأولاد والقطار هي ذاتها أولاد سكة الحديد لـ اديت نيسبت طبعة مكتبة لبنان 1986.
قصة طريفة وجميلة كتبتها الكاتبة سنة 1906 ، صورت فيها الحياة العائلية بالمجتمع الانجليزي تصويرا نابضاً بالحياة، يزيدها جمالاً الرسوم الملونة الرائعة.
تتحدث القصة عن ثلاثة أبناء يعيشون مع والدتهم في احدى ضواحي لندن ثم ينتقلون إلى الريف بعد أن سجن والدهم زوراً وضاق بهم الحال.
ثم تتوالى البطولات والمغامرات المثيرة المشوقة التي يقوم بها الأبناء، وتتصف بالحنان والحماس والاندفاع وفعل الخير، وتنتهي بنهاية سعيدة كما هي قصص الأطفال دائما.
Profile Image for Roger Brunyate.
946 reviews633 followers
July 8, 2016
Nothing if not Strictly Truthful
And something wonderful did happen exactly four days after she had said this. I wish I could say it was three days after, because in fairy tales it is always three days after that things happen. But this is not a fairy story, and besides, it really was four and not three, and I am nothing if not strictly truthful.
Edith Nesbit had her tongue well in her cheek, of course, as she came to the end of her children's classic, published 110 years ago in 1906. After all, this story of three children forced into sudden poverty with their mother when their father is arrested has its full share of romance: the children thrive in their new environment next to a railway cutting, they make friends everywhere they go, and by a wonderful coincidence one of these friends turns out to be exactly the person who can help them. And yet, the enduring strength of the book has less to do with its romance than its truth. This is a real family, under real conditions, talking as people really talked—a far cry from the magical time-travel of The Story of the Amulet which preceded it.

Though equally fascinated by steam trains, I did not read the book as a child. I ordered it now as a footnote to Helen Dunmore's recent novel Exposure, which takes The Railway Children as its narrative frame—something I naturally didn't know until it was pointed out by friends. Dunmore's focus is primarily on why the father was arrested; with Nesbit, this is simply a fact that the reader must conjecture in the opening pages; it is not until quite close to the end that we hear any details (and discover that the case is very close to Dunmore's). But I think she is right to say nothing up front; it reproduces exactly the child's feeling of being carted off to new places and situations without understanding the adult reason behind it. It also gives a clear foundation for their resilience: their task is simply to help their mother get the new cottage in order, take chores off her hands, and make the most of their new environment.

The three children are Roberta (12), Peter (10), and Phyllis (8). But the author explains on page 30:
I am tired of calling Roberta by her name. I don't see why I should. No one else did. Everyone else called her Bobbie, and I don't see why I shouldn't.
So we get to know them by boys' names: Bobbie, Peter, and Phil. This matches the children's active independence, yet Nesbit does not turn the girls into tomboys; her gender balance is carefully thought out, and breaks the usual pattern of an elder boy leading the girls. Peter is there for physical strength and mechanical ingenuity, but Roberta is the one with the most responsibility, the one closest to her mother, the thinker, and in many ways the protagonist of the book; she is blessed with "the power of silent sympathy," a beautiful phrase. It is she who suggests that they get up early on their first morning, light the fire, lay the table, and put the kettle on for breakfast. After which, they go outside, discover the railway, and lose track of time:
They had made an excellent fire, and had set the kettle on it at about half past five. So that by eight the fire had been out for some time, the water had all boiled away, and the bottom was burned out of the kettle. Also they had not thought of washing the crockery before they set the table.
But their mother is nothing if not resilient too, and soon the children are off to visit the little rural station and make the first of their many friends. Even here, Nesbit values truth. Very few of the adults who come to help them fall in love with their cuteness at first sight; the children make mistakes and have to work on repairing them. Peter makes friends with the Station Master only after he has been caught "mining" coal from the heap outside the station and has duly apologized. Perks, the porter who tells them so much about trains, is as easily offended as befriended, and the children risk upsetting him when they plan something nice for his birthday. The bargee whom they encounter on the nearby canal behaves like an aggressive bully, and it is only when they help him in an unexpected crisis that they see his good side. I was also struck by the fact that while the book is naturally full of adventures, they are mostly of a small and believable kind. The biggest of them, when they save a train from crashing, is not saved for some grand climax, as another author might do, but placed before the half-way point in the book. It is the simplicity and naturalness of the book that makes it great—not its romance but its truth.

In reviewing The Story of the Amulet, I pointed out Nesbit's occasion tendency to insert herself into the story as a moralist, generally to advance her socialist beliefs. There is much less of that here. A Russian emigré who shows up in the village turns out to be a celebrated leftist writer, but little else is made of it. There is one slightly awkward scene where the local doctor tell Peter how to treat girls, but in general the life-lessons are introduced subtly in the everyday course of events; this is indeed an improving book to read, but the kids will never know it! Of course, Nesbit does introduce herself frequently into the action as author, with charming effect as in my first two quotations above. The mother who spends her days writing stories for sale while the children roam free in the countryside is Nesbit herself, who passed through some hard times of her own. Which leads to a delightful example of what we would now call meta-fiction:
"I say," said Peter, musingly, "wouldn't it be jolly if we all were in a book and you were writing it? Then you could make all sorts of jolly things happen, and make Jim's legs get well at once and be all right tomorrow, and Father come home soon and — "
Little does Peter know, they are already in a book, and their mother is indeed making all sorts of jolly things happen. But she is not doing it the easy way. And that is what makes this more than a footnote to a later novel, more than a charming period piece, but a true classic, as satisfying now as in the year it was written.
Profile Image for Hannah Foster.
Author 6 books110 followers
October 17, 2022
This was such a sweet story. I love the way E. Nesbit writes. Her literary children are some of the most realistic and fun literary children I have ever read. And there were definitely a couple spots that had me a little teary-eyed. And the end was just so precious and sweet and beautiful, and I kind of wish it had gone on a little longer because it felt like it ended quite abruptly, though I understand why. Anway, such a good book for all ages.
Profile Image for Afaf Ammar.
889 reviews477 followers
March 30, 2021
"لم يكن في وسعهم في تلك اللحظة التكهن بالحب الذي سيكبر معهم لسكة الحديد هذه، والتي ستصبح قريبًا مركز حياتهم الجديدة، ولا بالعجائب والتغييرات التي ستجلبها لهم "

بيتر وبوبي وفيل، التقوا بسكة الحديد لأول مرة في الصباح الباكر بعدما أكلوا فطيرة التفاح على الفطور، وأصبحت صديقتهم العزيزة جدًا على قلوبهم في الوقت الذي لم يكن لديهم مَن يلعبون معه بعدما انتقلوا مع أمهم من بيتهم الكبير الجميل إلى بيت صغير بعيد في الريف بعد غياب الأب،
شاركتهم سكة الحديد وعمالها مغامراتهم وقصصهم ومواقفهم النبيلة وضحكاتهم ودموعهم، وانعكست ظلال تلويحاتهم الرقيقة على زجاج نوافذ القطارات، وحملت معها رسائل لم يعتقدوا لحظتها أنها قد تصل، السيد المسن اللطيف أول من رد على تلويحات الأطفال بأخرى كانت بداية لأمل دافئ ينمو في قلوبهم كزهرة الربيع بمرور الأيام... !
حتى اليوم الذي قرر القطار أن يبادلهم الحب الذي اغدقوه عليه بلا حساب طوال الوقت،
ولم لا؟!
"فالأحداث السعيدة تحصل، أليس كذلك؟، فنحن نحيا من أجل تلك اللحظات"

أحببتها، أحببت صدى الحب والطيبة، وصدى صوت الأطفال بداخلي،
أحببت دفئها في قلبي ~💜💜

Profile Image for Corinne.
68 reviews183 followers
April 11, 2020
Good Characters with excellent human values. It was refreshing to read this book during this harsh period.
Profile Image for Emily.
859 reviews142 followers
February 18, 2021
This, the story of three well-off children who are forced to take up a new life of (relative) poverty far away from their London home, with their father mysteriously absent, is the only one of E. Nesbit's books that was a perennial reread in my childhood. This reading was possibly the first in over three decades. Some parts I recollected vividly (waving down the train with red petticoats), but others hadn't stuck. Of the incidents in the latter category, I could have done without the episode in which the doctor tells Peter to be gentle with his sisters because females are so soft and weak, but recognize that this is very likely the sort of thing a kindly and well-meaning man like the doctor would have said to a boy like Peter circa 1905. I'd also forgotten about "the hound in the red jersey" but as I read, recollections trickled back about how confusing this was for me as a child, and how I had a hard time shaking off the initial assumption that Jim was in fact, a dog.

On the whole, it holds up well, but I did relate more to the mother this time around, and can easily imagine sharing not only her suppressed anguish (that only Bobbie, the oldest girl can perceive) as she tries to keep thing together for the children, but also her dismay at how readily the kids go about asking strangers for things. The part of the book I like best, and which I think gives it its enduring quality, is the attachment the children feel towards the railway.

Our childhood copy was a paperback with a still from the 1970 movie on the cover, with the railway children in a row, waving, with Bobbie looking disconcertingly like a grown up. I can't find that version on goodreads (I'll rectify that if I get a chance). This edition is what I checked out the library. It's oversized and copiously and attractively illustrated, but didn't feel quite right.
Profile Image for Bill.
198 reviews41 followers
July 11, 2020
I hadn't even heard of this book, much less read it as a child, so the free LibriVox audiobook read by Karen Savage was a pleasant surprise and a very enjoyable companion on my daily walks.

The novel relates the adventures of three children transplanted with their mother from a quite comfortable life in early 1900s London to reduced circumstances in a farmhouse in Yorkshire, due to the father's sudden disappearance from their lives for unexplained reasons.

As their mother focuses on earning a meagre income by writing stories, the children explore their surroundings, most notably the nearby train tracks and station. Although not without difficulties, they befriend everyone they meet and perform kindly and even heroic deeds.

It is comforting to spend some time in a world in which problems large and small are seen to be resolved in a satisfying fashion.
Profile Image for Kayla Jefferson.
50 reviews3 followers
September 15, 2021
Another ‘classic’ that I didn’t enjoy. The story was massively drawn out and in some places extremely exaggerated. The mothers lack of letting the children know where their father was was imo very cruel and not really needed. The ending was predictable. The constant use of ‘and’ like a million times in a sentence (slight exaggeration but still) was highly frustrating!
Profile Image for Jenny Baker.
1,252 reviews195 followers
January 1, 2019
My first read of 2019. I wish I had discovered E. Nesbit as a child, because I think it would have helped me to become more of an early reader.
Profile Image for Katja Labonté.
2,273 reviews127 followers
May 18, 2022
5+ stars & 10/10 hearts. Oh, how could I possibly put this book and my feelings about it into words? It’s the dearest, sweetest, loveliest little story in the world.

I could say that the setting is enchanting, which it is. A little village in the green English countryside, smothered in roses and hollyhocks, covered with crisp turf and willowy trees. A railway cutting through, with great steam engines puffing their way along shiny rails, and a little station with a kindhearted stationmaster and a kindly porter—the whole very quiet and simple and happy.

I could say that the writing style is brilliant, as it is. Very English in word and thought, permeated with dry, understated, witty humour; beautifully done descriptions of life as seen by a child, and of life in the late 1890s and early 1900s; everything so clear and true and strong—a masterpiece of literature.

I could say that the characters are super, for they are. Dear Roberta—Bobbie—is the sweetest child of twelve, so mature and sympathetic and brave, strong and reliable and loyal, yet neither perfect nor goody-goody—simply a warmhearted and loving child anxious to do the right thing. Peter, bold and sharp-writted, kindly and honourable. And Phyllis, “who means extremely well.” Then there’s Mother—the most wonderful Mother I have ever seen in a book, funny and oh, so strong and loving. Father—evidently a wonderful man. All the other characters are perfect in their way too, and so alive and funny and sweet—Perks + his family, the doctor, the postwoman, the old gentleman, Jim…

I could say the plot is perfectly lovely, which is true. A simple summer tale of children obliged to leave their London home and school, living in the countryside and “quite poor now” with Father away “on business” and only Mother’s writing to support them. The Railway calls to them from the first day, and everyone is so very kind and understanding to them, explaining everything, mending toys, sharing magazines… As the children encounter various people and try to do good things for them, as a matter of course, and navigate their own issues of illness and wounds and bad news, they learn a good deal about themselves and their family and life in general… and then that perfect wrap-up of an ending, drawing tears every time…

Oh, I do love this book so! It is so sweetly funny, and makes me smile and laugh every time I read it. I come away strengthened and encouraged and satisfied and cheered. I wish everyone would read and love it…

A Favourite Quote: “I say,” said Peter, musingly, “wouldn’t it be jolly if we all WERE in a book, and you were writing it? Then you could make all sorts of jolly things happen[.]”
“Don’t you think it’s rather nice to think that we’re in a book that God’s writing? If I were writing the book, I might make mistakes. But God knows how to make the story end just right—in the way that’s best for us.”
“Do you really believe that, Mother?” Peter asked quietly.
“Yes,” she said, “I do believe it—almost always—except when I’m so sad that I can’t believe anything. But even when I can’t believe it, I know it’s true—and I try to believe.”

A Favourite Beautiful Quote: And from the three long uncurtained windows the beautiful stretch of meadow and moorland, the far violet of the hills, and the unchanging changefulness of cloud and sky.
A Favourite Humorous Quote: “Oh, I BEG your pardon, Peter,” said Bobbie, “I AM so sorry.”
“Don’t mention it,” said Peter, grandly, “I knew you would be.”
Profile Image for Noor Tareq.
473 reviews77 followers
October 19, 2020
عند��ا تزرع الخير دائما ، سوف تحصد الخير .
هذا كان ما فعله هؤلاء الاطفال الرائعون ، روبيرتا ، بيتر و فيليس ، ساعدوا الجميع ، فكانوا اكبر عون لوالدتهم بعد غياب ابيهم و اتهامه بتهمة لم يفعلها ، بيركس عامل المحطة ، ساعدوه على اكتشاف كم يحبه الاخرين فعلا ، البحارة الذين دائما ما كانوا يؤذونهم ، انقذوا طفل البحار بيل من الحريق .
الفار الروسي ، آووه ، و ساعدوه بايجاد زوجته و اولاده ، بعدما فر من البطش في روسيا
اما ذلك السيد العجوز ، الذي اعانهم كثيرا ، انقذوا حفيده جيم ، بعد ما كسرت قدمه ، لكن طبعا لم يخذلهم السيد العجوز فساعد اباهم ، و ساعده بالعودة مجددا لاطفاله .
لم يمنعهم التبدل العظيم في حياتهم ، ترك حياتهم و بيتهم الذي اعتادوا عليه ، و قلة النقود بين ايديهم ، من ان يكونوا اطفال رائعين طيبين النيه و السريرة .
ابدع الكاتب في هذا الكتاب ، عمت البراءة و الطيبه قلبي و يومي .
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