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Jacqueline Wilson’s New Book Re-Imagines ‘The Railway Children’

For decades, Jacqueline Wilson has been one of the finest children’s authors around, with hit titles such as The Story of Tracey Beaker, The Illustrated Mum, and Double Act.

Young (and young at heart) readers will be pleased to learn that Wilson has announced she will be publishing a re-imagining of E Nesbit’s classic 1906 novel The Railway Children.

Set to be published by Puffin, it is described as a “thrilling modern adventure”.

A big fan of Edith Nesbit’s classic tale, Wilson previously published Four Children and It, inspired by Nesbit’s novel Five Children and It, in 2012.

Wilson has described Nesbit as her all-time favourite children’s author, saying: “I’ve always loved E Nesbit’s wonderful classic The Railway Children but I’ve also felt she wasn’t quite fair to the youngest child Phyllis. All she can say about her is that ‘she meant extremely well.’ I’ve reimagined the story from the youngest child’s point of view. The Nesbit book is very much a fairy story where every problem is wondrously overcome by heroic Mother and an old gentleman friend. In my modern story there are no easy solutions — but the children still have exciting adventures and I promise there’s a happy ending. Rachael Dean’s beautiful illustrations add an extra magical touch to the story.”

As The Bookseller reports, the book will include illustrations by Dean, who said: “I am extremely honoured to have been given the opportunity to work with one of the best writers this country has ever produced. As a young girl I would religiously read Jacqueline’s books, so to be able to illustrate this book for her now is truly surreal! I feel very grateful and excited about what lies ahead.”

The Primrose Railway Children follows the character of Phoebe who, like her father, enjoys making up and telling stories. The novel begins with Phoebe and her mother and siblings having to move to the middle of nowhere after her father mysteriously disappears.

The blurb reads: “Struggling to settle and missing her dad terribly, Phoebe’s only distraction is her guinea pig Daisy — until the family discover the thrilling steam trains at the railway station and suddenly, every day is filled with adventure. But Phoebe still can’t help wondering what her mum is hiding – and when she will see her dad again…”

Editorial director, Kelly Hurst, who acquired the UK and Commonwealth rights from Caroline Walsh at David Higham Associates, said: “This is an exciting new twist on The Railway Children, the most iconic of E Nesbit’s stories. Jacqueline has already written two incredibly successful retellings, Katy and Four Children and It, and we are thrilled to add another title to this collection. In The Primrose Railway Children Jacqueline combines her distinctive characters and much-loved style with a modern story that readers of the original will love. We are so pleased to be pairing Jacqueline with the hugely talented illustrator Rachael Dean.”

The Primrose Railway Children is set to be published on 16th September 2021.

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