Oi, here comes my engine

September 25, 2012 at 7:01 pm (books, kids) (, , , , , , )

If like us you have train mad boys in the house, but are a bit fed up with the “Th” word, then here are a couple of nice kids books about trains that you might not have heard of before.

(Note – I quite liked the original stories from the Rev W Awdry … I just don’t really like how they’ve been cartoonified since … or the theme tunes they use on the videos!)

Oi! Get Off Our Train

This is one of those books that we’ve now had on the bookshelves for over 16 years (I’ve mentioned it before) … its a great story with a bit of an ecological theme.  It also has great illustrations.  If you’ve seen any of John Burningham‘s other books, you’ll recognise the style instantly.

One Christmas channel 4 played a half-hour animation based on the story.  We have a DVD copied from a video recorded off the TV version, which isn’t perfect. I have tried to buy it, but all I could find was an American version, where they decided to rename it “The Animal Train” – goodness knows why – Oi! is such a great title.

There is an even worse copy than mine on YouTube – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8GTQmm9AzFE – but it does at least give you a chance to listen to the song that was written for it (and works really well).  In fact the sound track is really good.

A great book with a serious message told in an interesting and sensitive way.

Here Comes the Train

Another regular in our household is Charlotte Voake (‘Ginger‘ is another book from 16 years ago that’s still on the bookshelves).

This book tells the story of a weekend adventure to a bridge over the railway to wait for and watch the trains as they whoosh underneath.  This book actually prompted a visit to a local industrial estate in a bid to find a similar bridge.  Of course, most rail bridges these days are pretty much closed in (at least the ones around me are anyway).

Engines, Engines

Apparently this is an Indian counting rhyme that Lisa Bruce has put together with Stephen Waterhouse’s very colourful illustrations to create this book.

This hasn’t been in the house quite so long, but has been a firm favourite of the boys since we’ve had it.  It manages to get quite a number of key landmarks from India into the rhyme as it counts from 1 to 10.

Amazing Machines – Terrific Trains

This last one is just a simple rhyming book with large cartoon illustrations.  There is a book for trains, one for rockets, diggers, and a range of other things too.

So if you would like a change from Thomas, Percy and friends, take a look at some of these.




  1. Chris Black said,

    Hi Kevin. For some unknown reason, the YouTube clip of ‘Oi, get off our train’, has just been blocked, evidently for copyright reasons. I am gutted, as I have used it regularly over the years as an excellent teaching resource, poor quality though it was. You mentioned once before that you had a copy on either video or DVD. Is there any chance I could purchase a copy, or do you know anywhere that it is available. Even if it is called the Animal Train!!

    • Kevin said,

      Oh no! Really? That’s a real shame. I have it recorded off the tv onto video and then off the video onto DVD. I suspect it won’t be trivial to copy, but I could try. I’ve not ever seen it for sale in the uk unfortunately.

      If you reply with an email address, then I ping you an email (I won’t let it be posted to the site as all comments are moderated and approved first so ill reject it as a comment once I have it).


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