Read The Railway Children by E. Nesbit Shirley Hughes Online


Set in Edwardian England, this book has been a popular story for 90 years. It tells the heartwarming adventures of a resourceful family - mother and her three children: sensible Roberta, the eldest, scientific Peter and dreamy Phyllis....

Title : The Railway Children
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780333600177
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 368 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Railway Children Reviews

  • Jan-Maat
    2019-05-04 05:20

    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 (view spoiler)[ the landslip (view spoiler)[ interesting here the comparison with Vsevolod Garshin's story the red flag - man saves train by staining a white cloth with his own blood to make a red flag, here the girl children happen to be wearing red flannel petticoats, I doubt that Nesbit was aware of Garshin but we can see how the disaster of a rail crash can be averted by everything from tragedy through to comedy, from the cost of one's own life through to at the cost of one's own underwear (view spoiler)[ and that is plainly why one should always wear red underwear (hide spoiler)] (hide spoiler)], the Barge Baby, and the Grammar School boy(hide spoiler)] the last rescue triggers the last of the three guests who stay in the house (view spoiler)[ the 'Russian' gentleman, the Grammar School boy, the absent father (hide spoiler)].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 (view spoiler)[ or child auditor in the case of the younger ones, and one wouldn't want too many trembling ears(hide spoiler)]. 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 (view spoiler)[ finding the "Russian" gentleman's family, paying for the Mother to nurse his grandson back to health, reuniting the Railway children with their father (hide spoiler)], 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 (view spoiler)[like not going to school if I was to be flippant(hide spoiler)] 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!

  • Manny
    2019-05-18 03:08

    Pilot for the Celebrity Death Match Review Tournament, The Railway Children versus Atlas ShruggedIt'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)

  • Dhanaraj Rajan
    2019-05-08 04:04

    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.

  • Dannii Elle
    2019-04-21 23:03

    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.

  • Muhammad Ahmed Siddiqui
    2019-05-01 05:06

    changed my mind this is a5 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.”

  • Becki
    2019-05-02 22:10

    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.

  • Ivonne Rovira
    2019-05-17 01:05

    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.

  • Scarlet
    2019-05-14 01:07

    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.

  • Roger Brunyate
    2019-04-24 01:18

    Nothing if not Strictly TruthfulAnd 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.

  • Laura Verret
    2019-04-24 21:52

    I believe this may be one of the best children's stories I have ever read. Told in a creative and sprightly way, this book carries you into the story of Roberta, Peter and Phyllis. After their father is called away on a long, mysterious trip, these three must adjust and help their mother as they sell their mansion and move into a smaller cottage just outside of a rural village. There they make friends with various people who work at the railway station, and thus begins their love of trains. They are beset upon (or perhaps they go out looking for) various adventures and trials as they continue to explore and familiarize themselves with the towns-folk.

  • Kellyn Roth
    2019-05-12 21:53

    This is such an adorable story! My mom read it aloud to me and my brothers a couple years back. It's touching, funny, and picturesque.~Kellyn Roth, Reveries Reviews

  • Ferdy
    2019-04-23 01:15

    A light, summery, charming read in an old school British sort of way. It was a little slow paced and predictable though, then again I was expecting it to be like that. I did find the kids quite cheeky when they went around demanding things from the Old Gentlemen, the villagers, and the poor Doctor. I know they were trying to help their mum and other people, but it was still kind of greedy and cheeky. Though they were quite selfless and nice when it came to the Russian guy and the red jumper guy, so I guess they weren't all bad. Liked Phil the most out of the the siblings, she was funny and sweet, Peter was the worst though, he was moody and bratty, kind of hated him. Loved the setting of Three Chimneys and the railway station, it was all very twee and lovely.

  • Tracey
    2019-04-21 23:04

    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 courageously 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.

  • LH Johnson
    2019-05-15 04:57

    I'm on a bit of a classics kick recently. And as mentioned in my review of For Love Of A Horse, these aren't the Oliver Twist sort of classics. These are classics that have framed my childhood - and my adulthood - and are just really, really good. I love The Railway Children. (And I love Bobbie in particular.)E Nesbit is a stylish, approachable author who writes with a sort of seditious aplomb. There's a whole level of this book that I missed first time round, the subtle comments on society, class and gender that quietly slip, slip, slide throughout the book. Have a look at how Nesbit writes her girls for example, the shift between Roberta and Bobbie, Phil and Phyllis, and the way Nesbit quite beautifully starts to fall in love with her characters. You should so read E Nesbit. You should read everything of hers because it's all very, very gorgeous. It's writing that's full of riches; of families fighting and making up and falling in love and holding fast to each other against the world. And Nesbit writes that, she writes it all brilliantly, but she also rips it all apart. This is a single parent family, run by Mother in Father's absence. And due to that absence, she becomes the breadwinner, the caregiver, and the authority in the lives of her children. It's an apparently simple conceit but it's one that allows Nesbit to quietly pull the rug from under our feet and shatter any preconceptions we may have. Girls are brave, boys are foolish, boys are brave and girls are foolish, and at the mercy of adult authority and yet, subtly, quietly, often manipulating and controlling that authority.It's great, clever stuff that is still an excellent read over one hundred years later. I love Nesbit. I love her a lot. Read this, then go read The Phoenix and the Carpet, and Five Children and It and The Story of the Treasure Seekers and then read everything else she ever wrote. The Railway Children is available for free on Project Gutenberghere. (And for more on the subversive nature of the book itself, read this which is excellent.

  • Tarmia
    2019-05-18 22:52

    This was an endearing read, but one that, for me, was nothing more than endearing. The children, the side characters, and the narrator were all well considered and gave an almost whimsical sensation to the book, but I was lost when trying to properly connect and feel emotionally invested. It was very reminiscent of Little Women but luckily had less of the sexist undertones. Yes, I am aware of when these books were written, but I felt almost 'dirtied' by such statements as; 'girls are so much softer and weaker than we are; they have to be, you know'. With both The Railway Children and Little Women I think it's the childhood sentimentality that I am missing; neither of these books were read to me as a child, and this is where they fall short. While reading this I was not transported back to my childhood bedroom but to a time where it was acceptable to indoctrinate children with the stereotypes of boys being 'brave warriors' and girls being 'gentle and kind' and the opposite not being accepted.I know this is a children's book, and that much of this would go beyond their understanding, however, I struggle to get past this and to fully enjoy the adventures of the children. I wish I had read this as a child, then maybe I would like it more, see the adventure, the beauty in the countryside setting, and feel the pain of the children when their father disappears. But I struggle to move on from the misogyny that is so innocently presented. I would have loved to have viewed this endearing story through the innocent eyes of a child and to fully appreciate it for what it is.

  • Duane
    2019-05-02 21:58

    E. Nesbit's (Edith) story, The Railway Children, was published in 1906. This first decade of the 20th century also introduced us to Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables and Burnett's A Little Princess. All three are considered childrens classics but are equally enjoyed by adult readers. Unlike many of today's children's stories, these classics place children in real life situations, and they find real life solutions to their problems. Although sometimes far fetched, they provide a level of belivability that is inspiring for children and all readers alike. The major theme of course is, good will overcome bad, as it is in most of these stories, and here it is combined with a good plot, good characters, and good writing, and makes for a very enjoyable read.

  • Kavita
    2019-04-28 04:18

    Meh. Tedious.I really thought I would enjoy a book about the railways, and I did enjoy that aspect of it. It's funny how quaint and informal the railway officials are but it was nice to see the children's growing love for the railway station, the trains and the employees working there. The plot, as it goes, was boring. The childrens' father was imprisoned for spying but the mother does not tell the children anything and lets them speculate all manner of terrible things, which I found to be quite cruel. The eldest finds out about it by accident and the mother makes her promise not to tell anyone. These are not small kids but almost teenagers. The family doesn't seem to make visits to the father in prison either. It was just made out to be a big mystery, but I found it all rather forced. The book does not go into details about the arrest and so on, which could have made it more interesting. The mother kept yapping that now they are very poor but there was no struggle shown on the part of the children to try to adjust to their new surroundings. I also don't think Mother knows what poverty really is. There were some sub-plots, but most of them were senseless, especially one involving a famous Russian writer who appears to get stranded in a remote village of all the places! It didn't lead anywhere either and seemed very forced. There was one good plot involving the station master, though, which I thought was rather nicely done. Bobby's final moment of intuition was forced and unrealistic too.The three children are all saccharine sweet and boring beyond belief. Peter is the one who was a little interesting but I could not really sustain interest in the squabbles that ended almost as soon as he started them, because diabetes-Bobbie apologises right away all the time. Phyllis is almost a background character, and does not have any separate plot of her own. Roberta is the eldest and is a goody two shoes who consistently got on my nerves with her diabetes-inducing behaviour. The last concern with children that age is trying to act good, but Roberta is not a teen, she is a robot. One who bursts into tears all the time. Maybe this was Nesbit's ideal teen, rather than a real one. The siblings go around doing good deeds all over the place, which frankly is rather boring. We also learn a scientific fact in this book meant for children - something that has been read and absorbed by kids for about a century now. Girls are weaker and softer because it's good for the babies. Yes, so weak and soft that they can push out big babies from a small hole ... Very good for them, I'm sure, if women are unable to handle pain. Very soft, indeed! It's SCIENCE, don't you know?!I am not sure I would have enjoyed this book even as a child. Reading this as an adult, it's perfectly tedious and I hate all of them. Everyone is really fake, the plots are either boring or don't really fit in together, and the scientific facts are not supported by peer reviews. Total loss! I don't even know how this is a classic.

  • Mangrii
    2019-05-04 05:59

    La historia nos cuenta las pequeñas aventuras de un Roberta, Peter y Phyllis tras trasladarse a vivir a Tres Chimeneas; todo ello tras un extraño suceso en su familia, de repente tu padre ha desaparecido y ellos no saben lo que ha pasado. En su nuevo emplazamiento, los niños vivirán entretenidas aventuras, harán amistad con el Jefe de la estación, con el mozo de la misma o con un misterioso Anciano Caballero que todos los días les saluda en el tren de las 9.15, tras salir del túnel.Narrado en tercera persona, seguimos las aventuras desde la perspectiva de los tres pequeños hermanos, siendo testigos de los cambios en su vida y de los valores que van adquiriendo con el paso del tiempo. Al igual que me paso con La ciudad mágica, me ha parecido una narración perfecta y fluida, que hace que las paginas vuelen aún sin tener una trama con mucho gancho o grandes incógnitas por resolverse.Como bien he leído varias veces, este icono clásico de las letras inglesas del siglo XIX, se nota que inspiro a muchos autores ingleses y americanos posteriores como C.S.Lewis, Diana Wynne Jones o J.K.Rowling, tanto en algunas personalidades como en los valores que pretenden transmitir con sus escritos, en este caso sobre todo, valores sociales o de clases sociales.

  • Tony
    2019-04-20 03:03

    THE RAILWAY CHILDREN. (1906). E. Nesbit. ***. E. (Edith) Nesbit (1856-1924) was a writer of children’s books that were very successful in England and remain so to this day. She is not read much in America, primarily because her plots are simply too sweet for U.S. kids – or at least that’s what the critics say. In this book, one of her most popular, we meet a family of mother, father and three children. The kids are, from the eldest down, Roberta (Bobbie), Peter, and Phyllis. It’s a perfect family until two men come to their door one night and take the father away. We don’t learn why until nearly the end of the book, but we have our suspicions. Without father there, the family has to move to cheaper quarters, a house called Three Chimineys, located off in the country. Mother supports the family by writing poems and short stories which she manages to sell to various magazines. The children are no longer in school, so they are thrown back on their own resources as what they might do every day. One of their closest neighbors is the local train depot – to which Peter is particularly drawn, since he loves trains. The three soon make friends with all of the employees at the station, and also become a fixture on the line, as they make it a habit to stand on one of the railroad overpasses and wave their handkerchiefs at passing trains. One of the regular passengers, whom we know only as “the old gentleman” gets into the habit of waving back to them. The children get along well with each other and with everyone else that they meet. They do manage to have some adventures: saving a local train from wrecking on a landslide by getting down on the tracks and flagging it down; saving a baby from a burning canal boat, and other more minor deeds that show their goodness. Throughout all of this, their mother remains stoic and supportive of them. This is a sweet story, one that features all of the prominent behavior values desired of Victorian children. Near the end, with the help of the “old gentleman,” they manage to get their Daddy back – as you might expect based on all of their previous feats. How this is done is key to the story, so I can’t say more or I’d spoil it for you. It would be worthwhile if you tried this book on a fifth- or sixth-grader to see what they thought. It’s not really for us big folks.

  • Mommalibrarian
    2019-05-09 00:08

    Written in 1906 - still fresh. The fact that there is no electricity and people walk instead of getting their mother to drive them are the only real indication of its age. On page 6 the father tells his ten year old son, "Of course they [girls] can help. Girls are just as clever as boys, and don't you forget it." When the father is taken away the 'clever' mother supports the family writing poems and children's stories. Her son regrets at one point that she has to be so clever as she has less time for fun with the children when she must be clever. Am amusing or old fashioned feature of the book is the many instances when the author addresses the reader directly. For example,"'Very well,' said Mother, and I daresay you think that she ought not to have said it. But she remembered about when she was a little girl herself and she did say it --- and neither her own children nor you nor any other children in the world could ever understand exactly what it cost her to do it."Of course everything works out in the end and is not a boring book even for an adult to read.

  • Ritika Gupta
    2019-04-29 22:59

    While reading some books, you smile often and this wasn't that kind of book. Because you don't smile often but always. The goodness of heart, the kindness, innocence and love is overwhelming especially in today's world. Almost an utopian work, worth a read not only for kids but also grown ups. And especially for the skeptics grown ups. Such works should be read more often. A breath of clean and fresh air amidst the polluted air that we breathe.

  • Vu K
    2019-04-23 01:17

    Thích hơn quyển 'Five Children and It' cũng của Nesbit (đã được dịch sang tiếng Việt, mang tựa đề 'Năm đứa trẻ và con tiên cát', bản dịch của Nguyễn Thị Huyền, NXB Văn hóa Thông tin).Một cuốn sách mang tính giáo dục, nhưng đầy nhẹ nhàng chứ không khô cứng vì câu chuyện diễn ra thật tự nhiên.Đang sống trong sung sướng, những đứa trẻ rơi vào cảnh khốn cùng khi cha của chúng bị bắt, mẹ phải làm việc mà không đủ để chi tiêu, nên những đứa trẻ không phải đến trường, mẹ lại không có thời gian để chăm sóc đến chúng, và những cuộc phiêu lưu nho nhỏ diễn ra.Những đứa trẻ luôn gặp những con người tốt bụng, và dù trong hoàn cảnh nào thì người ta luôn đối xử với chúng đầy tinh thần nhân văn và dạy dỗ chúng những điều tốt đẹp của con người chính trực, nền tảng cho một xã hội tốt đẹp hơn. (Ngày cả việc bố chúng bị bắt thì tuy từ đầu truyện tác giả không viết ra nhưng đọc chừng vài chục trang thì có thể đoán được, nhưng không thấy cảnh bắt bớ với đầy cảnh sát trong nhà lục tung đồ đạc hay nhà báo vây quanh hay cảnh đàm tiếu ở láng giềng v.v. có thể xảy ra trong trường hớp này, và thấy phổ biến ngày nay).Câu chuyện những người anh hùng nhỏ tuổi cứu đoàn tàu hỏa khỏi tai nạn là một mô típ quen thuộc, nhưng đầy đáng yêu.Dưới đây là ví dụ về một vài điều tốt đẹp được khéo léo lồng trong nội dung câu chuyện (có vẻ như những điều này còn thiếu trong xã hội ngày nay, khi một vài người có thể nói những điều tốt đẹp nhưng không thực tin vào nó, hay chỉ dạy bảo cho người khác mà quên thực hiện và quên không dạy bảo chính con cái họ):- Các cháu đã từng đến nhà thờ hay học giáo lý hay thứ gì khác chưa mà không biết ăn cắp là xấu? (trang 51)- hãy nhớ ăn cắp là ăn cắp... (trang 52)- đúng là chúng ta nghèo. Nhưng chúng ta đủ sống. Các con không được kêu ca với bất kỳ ai về hoàn cảnh nhà mình, làm vậy là không đúng. Và các con không, không, không bao giờ được xin người lạ cái gì. (trang 78)- mẹ dặn chúng cháu không được kêu ca với bất cứ ai là nhà mình nghèo. (trang 84)- biết lặng lẽ cảm thông với người khác (trang 140)- Nếu họ tặng tiền thì các con phải nói 'Chúng cháu xin cảm ơn, nhưng cho phép chúng cháu từ chối món quà nay.' (trang 143)- không nên tự mãn với việc đã làm, và không được đòi hỏi bất kỳ điều gì (trang 146)- Chị nghĩ em có thể tặng hoa hồng cho bà ấy mà không cần người ta đáp lại đấy (trang 164)- Làm người phải biết tự trọng không thì ai người ta tôn trọng mình chứ (trang 202)- cái gì cũng có chỗ kết thúc, nếu chịu khó đi tiếp thì rồi em sẽ đi đến đó. (trang 258)- Thật dễ chịu khi các con bạn tin rằng bạn sẵn lòng mở rộng cửa và mở rộng tấm lòng cho bất cứ ai cần giúp đỡ. (trang 268)hay một số quan sát, kể cả những nhận xét đầy tinh tế, kiểu như:- Con gái cũng thông minh như con trai (trang 14)- đàn ông phải gánh vác việc trọng đại và không được sợ gì hết, cho nên họ phải rắn rỏi và dũng cảm. Còn phụ nữ phải nuôi dạy con cái, ôm ấp, chăm sóc chúng và phải rất kiên nhẫn, dịu dàng. (trang 276)- Bé trai và bé gái thật ra chỉ là đàn ông và phụ nữ nhỏ tuổi. (trang 277)- có những thứ không làm tổn thương chúng ta (đàn ông) song lại làm tổn thương họ (phụ nữ). Cháu biết là cháu không được đánh con gái (trang 277)- Đó là bởi vì con gái họ mỏng manh, nhẹ nhàng hơn chúng ta (đàn ông) vì nếu họ không thế thì không tốt cho trẻ nhỏ. Đó là lý do tại sao các loài vật lại tốt với mẹ chúng như thế. Chúng không bao giờ đánh mẹ (trang 277)- trái tim họ cũng dịu dàng nữa nên có những điều mà chúng ta chẳng hề bận tâm thì lại làm họ đau lòng. Do đó một người đàn ông phải rất cẩn thận, không chỉ với nắm đấm mà với cả lời nói của mình. (trang 277-278)- một người phụ nữa càng dịu dàng, càng dễ bị tổn thương thì lại càng can đảm khi làm việc phải làm (trang 278)- Nhưng không ai biết hết mọi thứ nếu không được nói cho biết. 9 (trang 278)- Ai cũng luôn hối lỗi ngay khi họ hiểu ra. Ai cũng cần được dạy dỗ những kiến thức khoa học này. (trang 278)và những câu châm ngôn, cách ngôn:- Nhà của người Anh là pháo đài của anh ta (An Englishman's house is his own castle) (trang 14)- Đừng hỏi gì kẻo tôi phải nói dối (trang 17)Để hoàn thành quyển sách, tác giả hẳn phải tìm hiểu để có những kiến thức về nhà ga, đường tàu, hay cầu máng, ngoài chuyện dạy trẻ những điều tưởng như nhỏ nhặt như giặt giũ quần áo.Một quan sát khác là nước Nga Sa hoàng đầu thế kỷ XX hình như vẫn là đại diện cho những gì xấu xa, ác độc, và không mấy được người Anh cùng thời có cảm tình.Một khen ngợi với dịch giả (Nguyễn Tâm) là đã dịch được những từ như về các loại cây hoa, hay các loại cá (vì danh mục các từ thuộc loại này cũng giống như một ngôn ngữ khác nằm trong tiếng Anh vậy), như: cây ly chua châu mỹ, hoa quế trúc, hoa lưu ly, tử đinh hương, đậu chổi, hoa păng xê, hoa báo xuân tía, cỏ ba lá, hoa chuông, bu lô, sồi, phỉ, nhựa ruồi, nguyệt quế, hoa mao lương, quả lý gai, chút chít đỏ, thục quỳ hồng, cúc sao, và cá thu đào, cá ốt me, cá tuế lạc.Tuy nhiên, cũng cần nhận xét thêm về dịch thuật, ngoài một số chỗ có thể làm tốt hơn mà sẽ không đi vào chi tiết, thì góp ý này nhằm vào việc dịch đại từ để chỉ nhân vật chú Perks, người trực ga 32 tuổi, có vợ và mấy con là 'chú ta' rất không thích hợp. Trong tiếng Việt, 'chú ấy' có thể chỉ đến một người đàn ông, nhưng 'chú ta' thì chỉ được dùng để chỉ một chú bé.

  • Emily
    2019-04-28 21:53

    A sweet, charming listen, thanks to LibriVox! A little contrived at times, but quite pleasantly so. 4.5 stars.

  • Sheila Beaumont
    2019-04-28 22:57

    I've read this children's classic by E. Nesbit many times over the years, and this time I really enjoyed listening to this fine audiobook, which is enhanced by Virginia Leishman's excellent narration.

  • Jackie
    2019-05-11 05:19

    This story reminded me of the nursery rhyme “Sugar and spice and everything nice; That's what little girls are made of.” It was just so sickly sweet and innocent. I get it though, as it was written in 1906, when kids were encouraged to make friends outside and most people cared about respecting one another.For the most part, this was a cute story. It was enjoyable, despite the Mary-Sue behavior of all the characters. The only thing that didn’t hold up well was the gender conversation, but again not surprising for the time period it was written.

  • Suad Shamma
    2019-05-09 02:52

    I can't say this was the most exciting book to read. I bought this book because I had heard so much about it, it's such a classic and well-known novel that gets referenced now and again, and it looked like a quick and easy read, so I thought why not? Except, it took me longer to finish than expected, only because I wasn't too interested in the storytelling or overall plot. It revolves around 3 siblings who come from a comfortable background with a nice house, servants etc. One evening, their father leaves without an explanation, but a promise that he'll come back, and the next day their mother announces that they will need to leave the house and move elsewhere. And so their lives are turned upside down as they move into a new house, with no servants, in the middle of nowhere. They quickly learn to adapt to their new environment, and to fill their days, they use their imagination as they play games with one another. Once they discover the railway, it becomes their ritual to go down to the railway everyday to watch the trains. The story then unfolds to show how adaptable and capable children can be. The friendships they strike, and the lengths they go to in order to try and figure out what happened to their father and bring him back to them. They also rise up to the occasion several times to help out their struggling mother. It's a good story to read for children, but unfortunately, it just wasn't one that was interesting enough or exciting enough to reel me in.

  • Con Bé Ki
    2019-05-19 05:18

    Không phải ai cũng có thể/nên viết câu chuyện đời mình.Điều cảm nhận đầu tiên đó là Sách rất Đẹp và cả câu chuyện trong Sách cũng rất đẹp. Đẹp nhất là những cái tên, như con tàu "Rồng Xanh" (còn có tên gọi khác là Ốc Sên), con tàu "Giun của Wantley" và con tàu "Nỗi Sợ Hãi Bay Trong Đêm", ngôi Biệt Thự Đỏ hay ngôi nhà trắng Ba Ống Khói...Điều thứ hai và cũng là hết điều rồi, là những câu chuyện đẹp và những cuộc trò chuyện thú vị luôn làm thời gian trôi qua rất nhanh.Cái không thích duy nhất ở cuốn sách này là kết cục, E. Nesbit đã không cho mình vào ngôi nhà trắng của sáu người bọn họ xem chuyện hạnh phúc gì đang diễn ra trong đó :))

  • Nick
    2019-05-13 03:06

    Cute but nothing terribly special. I read this mainly because C.S. Lewis loved Nesbit's work. Nothing magical happened in this book though...just your typical good children doing good and saving the day sort of tale.

  • Bettie☯
    2019-05-20 02:59

    The editions on GR are marked with a publishing date of 1978 and should indicate 1906.

  • Trevor
    2019-04-23 22:58

    Brings back great memories of watching the film as a kid.Not sure how children today would react to it, as parts of it seem very dated, and also a bit sexist.Overall though, I really enjoyed it.