The Railway Children Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Railway Children

This is a story of three children, Roberta, Phyllis, and Peter, who live in a respectable suburban villa with a wonderful mother and father and a cook and servants, until one day great disgrace and poverty befalls them. Father is taken away to prison (but they do not know this at first), and they have to move to a poor cottage in the country near a railway line. Mother writes stories to earn what little they live on and they get used to being poor and have to learn not to steal coal from the railway station, even if they have so little to keep warm by. Sometimes they argue and have crises, as one does, but in time they make many new friends, and amusing adventures aplenty happen near the railway and the canal. They develop the habit of waving to the train as it goes past and sometimes the people in the coaches wave back. Their friendly habits makes them one special friend in particular, who although he mostly just goes by in the train, eventually gets to know them, and helps them out in various ways. And somehow all the good things that they do add up together and end up coming back to them, and there is happy ending to it all.
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The review of this Book prepared by Michael JR Jose

Roberta, Peter, and Phyllis are London schoolchildren aged 12, 10, and 8, respectively. One day their father leaves with two men and does not come back, and mother packs them off to a small house in the country. The kids become familiar with the passing trains, the workers at the train station and signal-box, and life in a small town while their mother struggles to make ends meet writing stories. They have various adventures -- stopping a train when a landslide covers the tracks, preventing a scraggly and penniless foreigner from arrest and taking him home, saving an infant and dog from a barge canal on fire, finding an injured older boy in the train tunnel and getting help -- while the mystery of their father's disappearance and the war between Russia and Japan percolates in the background. Sweet, charming, and imbued with all the author's wisdom and skill, this 1906 book is a gem for older children and grownups.
The review of this Book prepared by David Loftus

Chapter Analysis of The Railway Children

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   upbeat Time/era of story    -   1900-1920's Kids growing up/acting up?    -   Yes Poverty, surviving    -   Yes Kind of living:    -   general poverty story Family, loving relations    -   Yes Special relationship with    -   mother Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Age 7-10    -   Age 11-14 Age group of kid(s) in story:    -   grade school Parents/lack of parents problem?    -   Dada gone

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   unemployed    -   student Age:    -   a kid Ethnicity/Nationality    -   British


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   2 () Europe    -   Yes European country:    -   England/UK Small town?    -   Yes Small town people:    -   nice, like Andy/Opie/Aunt Bee Misc setting    -   moving train

Writing Style

Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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Edith Nesbit Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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