Flying Scotsman and the Best Birthday Ever


Iris’s head is full of Flying Scotsman. Her birthdays are celebrations, with the train puffing and hurtling past her and her driver father waving from his carriage. However, her teacher, Mr Merton says that she should put thoughts of driving the train aside. After all it is too dangerous a prospect for a female.

Then again, might Iris ever travel upon the train? Might it take stowing away? Or could something more celebratory be on offer? What if Dad was asked to attempt to break a speed record with Flying Scotsman’s journey to Edinburgh? Then again, might he ask that Mum and Iris are passengers on this attempt?

Michael Morpurgo and Michael Foreman chart a twentieth- century history of Flying Scotsman through Iris’s story, which travels through her work in the second world war, to the train’s international journeys too. Alongside the fictional story, we’re treated to information about Flying Scotsman’s records and reputation.

Bookwagon loves this beautiful picture book, ideal as a gift, and to share, love and treasure too. We recommend Flying Scotsman and the Best Birthday Ever, highly.

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Flying Scotsman and the Best Birthday Ever

Michael Morpurgo, illustrated by Michael Foreman

(Thames & Hudson)

Iris’s father isn’t ‘any old train driver‘ but the driver of Flying Scotsman! It seems that every birthday Iris and her mother would ‘stand- on the platform, hearing doors slamming and whistles blowing, watching the flag waving‘. Thereafter, her smiling Dad would wave and call out greetings to her as he drove the train past them.
The train is in Iris’s hopes and plans for her future. However Mr Merton announces that he doesn’t ‘think little girls would be allowed up in the driver’s cab, even though the driver is [her] Dad’. Her school teacher declares it is ‘far too dangerous‘. What’s more, Iris’ mother denies her request to travel to Scotland aboard the train. Might stowing away prove the best course of action? How can Iris possibly follow in her father’s footsteps? Then again, what if Iris and her mother are invited to be passengers aboard the train on a speed record-breaking attempt to Edinburgh? Would it prove enough for Iris?
Michael Morpurgo and Michael Foreman collaborate on a centenary story about the world famous, record breaking train. It courses from early twentieth- century through wartime, when Iris is ‘in her 20’s’ and ‘the Second World War came’. With ‘men needed to go and fight in the army, the airforce or the navy- women were needed to work on the railways’. 
Thereafter, we’ve a history and update on this glorious train, one that makes us think upon The Highland Falcon Thief. Flying Scotsman and the Best Birthday Ever is a magnificent book, ideal for sharing, lingering over, wondering about, keeping and gifting.


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