This review was originally posted on August 18, 2000. It has been the spotlight review on this delightful book since that time, with 45 helpful votes. Until today. This is my last amazon review, and my profile, with it's removal, has become empty. Amazon and I are completely disentangled.
The Railway Children is a wonderful book. When the book begins, the three children, Roberta (Bobbie), Peter and Phyllis are living a lovely, secure life at Edgecomb Villa. Their father returns home after being away on business, two unknown men come to visit him in the evening after supper, and he simply disappears. Neither the reader nor the children know what has happened to him until Bobbie makes a chance discovery and learns the horrible truth.
In the intervening time, their mother, a capable and charming woman, takes her children to live in the country near a railway station, because they must "play at being poor for a while." The children handle their new situation with grace and wit, spending hours hanging about the railway station and generally keeping themselves busy, and in the process becoming fast friends with the porter, Perks, and the station master. They also become acquainted with their own old gentleman who lends a hand to help them time and again.
Bobbie is the oldest and sweetest of the children, with a longing to be truly good. Peter is the boy, who is madly in love with trains, stubbornly refuses to pushed around, and exhibits an extraordinary courage in the rescue of a baby and a young man in a train tunnel. Phyllis is the youngest, a funny, clumsy child with good intentions that often seem to go awry.
I read this book to my four year daughter. She loved it. As the adult, I enjoyed reading it. And, you'll be happy to know, it all comes out right in the end.