“IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT… BUT YOU’RE ALL OUT OF DATE. YOUR CONTROLLER SHOULD SCRAP YOU”
AWDRY, W. Stepney the 'Bluebell' Engine. London: Edmund Ward, (1963). Oblong 12mo, original blue paper boards, original dust jacket. $850.
First edition of the 18th book in the Railway Series, with 27 vibrant color illustrations.
In this 18th book in the series, Stepney visits the Fat Controller's Railway from the Bluebell Railway, a working railroad devoted to rescuing retired engines, and proves that even an old engine can be of use. As a young boy growing up in Hampshire, Wilbert Awdry developed a fascination with railways as a result of his father's enthusiasm for them. When Awdry's family moved to Box in Wiltshire, Awdry would lie in bed at night listening to the trains on the main line of the Great Western Railway, located just yards from his house. He later wrote, "It needed little imagination to hear, in the sounds the train engine and banking engine made, what they were saying to each other… From that time there developed in my mind the idea that all steam engines had personality and could express it." When his son came down with the measles, Awdry began writing the first railways stories, which began a beloved series that ran for 28 years. "Extremely popular with little boys (and bigger ones) for over 40 years, not only does Awdry's splendid Railway series seem to have not suffered a jot from the passing of the age of steam, but it seems to have blossomed into a truly permanent landmark in 20th-century children's books" (Connolly, 29).
Book with a few spots of foxing and soiling to interior, dust jacket with a few minor spots and only light rubbing to extremities. A near-fine copy.