The Enid Blyton Society
The Train That Lost Its Way (Little Book No. 10)
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Book Details...

First edition: 1953
Publisher: Brockhampton Press
Illustrator: Eileen A. Soper
Category: Brockhampton Little Books
Genre: Fantasy
Type: Short Story Series Books

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Review by Terry Gustafson

A train is probably one of the least likely vehicles to lose its way because it runs on rails. However a toy train is slightly different insofar as it has proper wheels that run on standard roads and tracks which is definitely a plus because the toys are bored. The children and grown-ups are away at the seaside and they've taken Topsy with them so the place is dull and because nothing seems to be happening, they're becoming irritated with each other. The bear growls loudly knowing full well that the big doll doesn't like it, and yesterday the golliwog pulled the Panda's tail. The clockwork mouse is also annoyed because, at one stage, the bear threw his key across the room. There are other complaints and grumbles so the panda comes up with an idea - why shouldn't they all go on holiday like everyone else?

This is a very welcome suggestion indeed and after the big doll has informed the clockwork mouse as to what a 'holiday' is, a discussion takes place and the decision is made - they'll go to the seaside. The clockwork mouse demonstrates his ignorance once again and asks if the seaside is a kind of see-saw to which the big doll answers,

"Of course not, baby!"

She doesn't actually know what the seaside is herself but manages to avoid any embarrassment by telling the mouse he'll find out when they get there. They're all very excited now and here's where the toy train comes in. It's only too happy to oblige despite not knowing the way, but they can always ask, so with that taken care of the toys pile in.

They don't seem too bothered about taking anything in the way of luggage although the big doll, being a 'lady,' pauses to stuff a few things into her bag before escorting the clockwork mouse to the waiting train and getting in herself. A driver is required because, although the train can trundle around the nursery by itself all right, an outdoor excursion requires a little more guidance in the form of someone in charge, and perhaps a guard - whereby the teddy bear and golliwog adopt the appropriate roles. The toys are now ready and when the golly waves a green flag they're off, out of the nursery, down the passage, and through the open garden door.

What a thrill. The train tears along a path scaring the cat up onto a wall, before turning into the lane outside and continuing along a short way until directions are called for. No problem. The golliwog simply yells up to a passing swallow who obligingly twitters down that they must take the road South. The train clatters away again giving old Mrs. Brown a terrible shock as it speeds past, and by the time she's concluded that it must have been a red snake she saw, the toy train has already rounded another corner and entered some woods where there's a narrow track to navigate.

Goodness it leads to a rabbit hole. Instead of stopping, they enter a narrow tunnel and rattle on in the darkness going deeper and deeper until the teddy bear decides it's time to stop and get some bearings. A brown rabbit who lopes in to see what's happening informs them that if the train keeps on going they'll arrive at Toadstool Town. Off they go again and next moment they're out in bright sunlight and entering a collection of toadstool houses from where a number of pixies emerge to gather round and stare at their strange visitors. Next moment the toys are invited to a lovely meal and we can see them all sitting in a circle with cake and biscuits spread out on a large cloth.

Time to leave, so away they go and shortly at another town, the toys decide they'll visit the market to buy a few things but the little doll is hesitant to disembark because she's apprehensive of a few long-bearded brownies who are eyeing her. All fears are justified, because they've fallen in love with the doll and want to keep her for themselves.

"You shall have a new dress and a pair of wings, and a lovely ring," they cry.

Well, she did express the desire for a pair of wings when feasting with the pixies earlier but now her immediate thought is to escape so she starts running, followed closely by the love-struck brownies. Thank God for a sudden interruption ... the train races over and scatters the brownies like skittles then, before any of them can recover, the toys have jumped on board again and they're off at a hair raising speed (after the golly has waved his flag of course).

Now the train is lost.

Puffing its way to the top of a hill it come across a quaint little cottage, but just as they're about to ask directions from a woman standing nearby the train suddenly begins tearing down the other side towards a giant pond at the bottom. This tale seems to become more and more hectic - what with the duck episode, quicksand problems, and the rest.


Well it's sand anyway, and the train is now mired. Sand means beach and beach means seaside ... however their adventures aren't over yet, and what follows is plain frightening.
Can't remember hearing of a dog called Topsy before but it sounds a nice name for someone's pet. The children's dog is Topsy.

The toys are represented by the big doll, gollywog, bear, little doll, panda, cat, rabbit, monkey, a soldier, and of course the clockwork mouse.

I wonder if in these electronic times they still have see-saws at children's parks.

The golliwogs best friend is the blue rabbit.

For shame, for shame! The family went on holiday and forgot to shut and lock the garden door.

We can only hope that arrangements were made for the cat to be fed while everyone was away.

There's another excellent set of colour pictures amongst a slightly higher amount of black and whites. Hard to pick out the best because at least three or four would qualify, but the one where they are confronted by the rabbit has an atmosphere about it. The end picture shows the toys having a joyous ride on a rocking horse, a creature that didn't accompany the toys on their rip-roaring trip.

There's a picture showing a mouse running away as the train passes by but no, the rodent hasn't got a key in it.

The golliwog's green flag looks blue on the cover.