The Railway Children by E Nesbit is the first book I’ve read on my tablet and I’m not sure if I loved the experience or not. I missed the feel of a book in my hands while I was reading. I have a lot of screen time at work and wonder if reading on a screen as well is good for me or not. The experience wasn’t all bad though, I really liked being able to make the font size big enough to read without wearing my glasses.
The Railway Children is probably a familiar story to most readers my age or older, although I had never read it. I read a lot of children’s classics growing up and plenty of abridged adult’s classics too, but somehow this one slipped past me. I quite enjoyed reading the story as an adult though. The characters have good morals and values, and the message couldn’t be clearer – do the right thing and you will be rewarded.
I expect the story has limited appeal for younger readers these days though. For children who read Harry Potter before moving on to Twilight and other wizard/vampire/magic type books, the story of The Railway Children might seem too simple.
The story follows three children, Roberta, Phyllis and Peter, who have recently moved from the city to a house in the country with their mother. The children’s father is mysteriously away from home. The children get to know their new home and community, particularly the nearby railway station, the train travellers and the railway workers. They are involved in quite a few adventures and on more than one occasion behave heroically. When the children save a train from crashing, they become friends with an old gentleman who they have often waved to on the train. The old gentleman is able to help the children’s father to return to them.
The children in this story seem far more innocent than children today and I think this reflects the time the book was written, which was over one hundred years ago. The book was quite sentimental and I admit to feeling a bit teary when I read the end. I would be very interested to hear what a child of today thought of The Railway Children. Probably a child of today would rather read The Railway Children on a tablet than in a book form, too.