The Railway Children

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Beth and Chrissi do Kid-Lit 2013 – The Round-Up

Published January 6, 2014 by bibliobeth

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2013 is over, and so is our Kid-Lit challenge but I think I can speak for us both when I say we both really enjoyed it. Here are the twelve books we read with the links to my reviews! Please check out Chrissi’s blog HERE for her fabulous reviews.

JANUARY – Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

FEBRUARY – The Water Babies by Charles Kingsley

MARCH – The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

APRIL – Stig of the Dump by Clive King

MAY – Heidi by Johanna Spyri

JUNE – A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

JULY – Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

AUGUST – The Children of the New Forest by Frederick Marryat

SEPTEMBER – A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

OCTOBER – Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

NOVEMBER – Northern Lights/The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

DECEMBER – The Railway Children by E. Nesbit

So, in the style of the “Talking About…” reviews we normally do, we thought we’d answer a quick few questions about our first year blogging in Kid-Lit.

1) What was your favourite Kid-Lit book of 2013 and why?
BETH: This is tough, there were quite a few that I really enjoyed. I think it would have to be A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett, simply because I had forgotten how beautiful the story was.
CHRISSI: This is a tough question. I’m torn between two that I thoroughly enjoyed. They are The Railway Children and A Little Princess. I think I’d have to go for A Little Princess, because it just gave me such a lovely warm feeling when I read it. The writing is beautiful.
2) What was your least favourite Kid-Lit book of 2013 and why?
BETH: There were a couple that also fitted this category! Probably The Water Babies by Charles Kingsley as I found it quite odd, and was bitterly disappointed by the story in general.
CHRISSI: We seem to have similar answers Beth! Mine would be Children Of The New Forest though. I was disappointed with it. I really thought I’d enjoy it! The Water Babies was an odd read.
3) What was the Kid-Lit book that surprised you the most?
BETH: This has to be Northern Lights/The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman. I loved the imagination behind this story, and some of his ideas (like having your own personal daemon) just blew me away. That reminds me, I must put the second book on my Coming Up list soon!
CHRISSI: I was surprised at how long Oliver Twist was. I think I’m so used to the film which condensed the book quite a bit.
4) Have you been inspired to read any other books from a Kid-Lit author of 2013?
BETH: I have! After The Little Princess, I decided to look into what else Frances Hodgson Burnett has written, as I know only of this book. I then went on a trip to Persephone Books in London, and found a copy of her novel The Making of A Marchioness, which I am looking forward to getting round to at some point!
CHRISSI: I want to read more of Frances Hodgson Burnett. Other than that I don’t think I’d read books from the same authors, besides Dickens, who I will hopefully read more of on the future. It has made me want to continue this challenge, and also think about other features around children’s literature!
Coming soon…. (Thursday to be exact) Beth and Chrissi do Kid-Lit – The Twelve Titles for 2014!

Beth and Chrissi do Kid-Lit – DECEMBER READ – The Railway Children by E. Nesbit

Published January 5, 2014 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

Three children, forced to alter their comfortable lifestyle when their father is taken away by strangers, move with their mother to a simple cottage near a railway station where their days are filled with excitement and adventure. First published in 1906, this beloved children’s classic has charmed generations of readers.

What did I think?:

I haven’t read this book for a while and I was slightly worried what I would think of it as an adult. I was also concerned for my sister and fellow blogger ChrissiReads as I know this was one of her favourite books ever as a child. Luckily, I had no need to fret as I loved it just the same as I did when I was younger. The story introduces us to three children, Roberta (Bobbie), Peter and Phyllis who live a charmed life with their mother and father in a large house with a few servants in England. Their world is turned upside down however when their father is taken away one night and the children are given no explanation for what has occurred or when their father will be returning – they are only told he is on “business.” Furthermore, they are forced to move to a much smaller house in the countryside with their mother and must live for a while as “a poor family,” watching every morsel of food and lump of coal to try and cut costs as much as possible. The children try to make the best of their change in situation, and discover the wonders of the railway which lies very close to their new home, and gives them many opportunities for adventure.

One of the things I enjoyed most about this story on re-reading it, was the way that the author wrote about children. It felt much more authentic than other books of the time as the characters of the children were real. That is to say they had faults, they argued, they played, they got into scrapes etc, and this made the tale more enjoyable as I felt they were incredibly relatable to any child reading it. I also loved the adventures they managed to get themselves into – from Peter’s attempts to procure a bit more coal for the family to saving a baby and dog when a fire breaks out on a barge, there was always some kind of action in the story to look forward to. There are also morals to be learned for the children (and perhaps the reader!) without them being forced down our throat, which I always appreciate. The Railway Children is definitely a classic piece of children’s literature, and I think it will continue to be treasured for years to come.

To read Chrissi’s review, please visit her blog HERE.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

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Please look out for Beth and Chrissi do Kid-Lit, twelve new titles for 2014!