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Little Peter's Railway The picnic.
Little Peter's Railway The picnic is written by Christopher Vine. Christopher Vine has written numerous train story books the majority been aimed at a slightly older child than my oldest son who is five. But he has done three little stories as he calls them and they are aimed at ages three to six years old. The picnic is the latest one he has done in 2012. We by chance meet Christopher Vine in October 2011 at the Yorkshire Moors Railway in Pickering. My son enjoyed looking at his books and was very happy when we bought two and had then signed by Mr Vine. He was a very pleasant man with lots of enthusiasm for his books and the railway around us. This also shows in his books. We were excited about this latest book to his collection.
The Little Peter's Railways books are small paperback books measuring 15cms by 14cms. They are quite lengthy stories spread across thirty two pages with twelve watercolour pictures. The lay out in this book is the same as the previous two with a double spread taken up with one side text the other side a beautiful watercolour picture. The page with text is full from top to bottom so there is plenty of text to a double page spread. The text is clear but quite small as there is plenty of it.
The first page is taken up with an introduction to Peter's Railway series so you don't need to have read any previous books by this author to get the enjoyment out of the book. Peter's railway is about Peter and his Grandpa who have built a mini railway across their farm between each other's house. The stories about the adventures they and Peter's younger twin brother and sister get up to. In this story Grandpa is left in charge of Peter and the twins when Grandma and Peter's mum and dad go out. He has the simple task of heating some food up for tea and putting them to bed! But Grandpa wants to add a bit of fun to the evening by taking the children out on a picnic with the food Grandma has cooked. Heating the beef stew up Grandpa adds some cabbage and sprouts to the picnic meal not thinking the children wouldn't like them. Do the children eat the vegetables and what mischief can all four of them end up doing?! Like 'Surprise Goods' there is a few twists to the story you don't quite expect.
The story is full of enthusiasm and you feel this as you read it out loud to your child. You can't help but read it at a pace. The descriptions within the story, of the train running along the tracks are fantastic. Again this train story is a level up from the Thomas style train stories on the market at the moment it comes alive as you read it and my son gets engrossed in the story, his imagination runs wild after having the story read to him. As well as the fun mischievous side to the story Mr Vine manages to get informative pieces in on how trains work. 'And cracked open the stream regulator' Mr Vine writes it is sentences like this in the book that have got myself and my son discussing more than just the story and about how trains work something he is fascinated with. Detail is not lacking in this book there is certainly plenty of it but although there is a picture to each double page spread you child does need to use their imagination. Now the book is aimed at children three to six years old but I would say it would depend on the individual child. My youngest is three and a half and these books are just too complexed for him. He doesn't have the imagination like my eldest and he gets bored and wants to turn the page for the next picture. Were on the other hand my eldest son loves the detail and listens well to the story.
The pictures are a great accompaniment to the story they are watercolour illustrations by John Wardle. They are full of detail too like the story but unlike many picture books they will not tell the story alone. My son enjoys looking at the pictures and pointing different bits out he has noticed. He especially likes the pages with Fiery Fox the train on them. Fiery Fox is a beautiful green stream locomotive one which young children imagine a train to look like.
Overall my son and I love this story but compared to the previous two books he has written in this little series the plot of the story lacks a bit of originality the mischievous story has been done many a time by books we like something a little more exciting. That said we have read it quite a few times and enjoyed it and think many other little ones would too.
Peter's Railway has its own website and you can buy the books direct from there but Amazon sells them too. The fantastic thing about these little books is the price they are only £2.99 which I think is fantastic value for money. You get plenty of story for your money and some lovely pictures too. My son has enjoyed all three books for the series this might not be his favourite one out of the three but it could your child's favourite!