The Railway Children by E. Nesbit

Roberta and her brother and sister have to leave London for the countryside when their father is mysteriously sent away, but they discover a world of delight thanks to the nearby railroad.

The Railway Children is an utterly charming book for children, the kind that is a delight to read aloud. Nesbit occasionally editorializes, offering gentle guidance towards right behavior without seeming preachy or moralizing. I fell in love with Roberta, who calls herself Bobbie except when she wants to be brave. Then she calls herself “little girl” by way of goading herself not to act like a child.

Nesbit makes the railway seem like magic, and I found myself wishing that I could play with Bobbie and Paul and Phyllis. The scene where their “old gentleman” gets all the passengers to wave at the children is breathtakingingly sweet and made my throat catch a bit.

I read this book for the Winter Classics Challenge. Three more to go!

2 thoughts on “The Railway Children by E. Nesbit”

  1. Do find it — it’s wonderful! And after you read it, keep an eye out for a lovely BBC production from the … early ’80s, maybe? Earlier? With Jenny Agutter. So, so good.

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