21 NOVEMBER 1891, Page 11

The Biography of a Locomotive. By Henry Frith. Illustrated. (Cassell

and Co.)—This is a story of adventure that every boy who has ever looked at an engine-driver and wondered what sort of a life he leads will be charmed with. It gives the reader a just and accurate description of the duties and hardships of the engine-driver's routine, and incidentally an insight into the working of a locomotive. By making a certain engine and a certain driver go through a variety of dangers, Mr. Frith enables us to grasp the many emergencies that an engine-driver must be prepared for, emergencies requiring instant presence of mind and decision. The moral purpose of the book, to teach the reader what railroad life is, is very strong, and the plot and the characters are made subservient to it, though they are not without a sufficient reality of their own. The Biography of a Locomotive should be valued all the more for that reason, and the knowledge that the thrilling adventures in it may happen to us any day. It is one of the best books of its kind we have seen. The story is told with a simplicity and directness and a continuous vigour that is most attractive, and it will certainly add to Mr. Frith's name as a writer for boys with a purpose.