Title: The Boxcar Children
Author: Gertrude Chandler Warner
Genre: Children’s literature
Publication Date: 1924
Purchase Price: $5.00 (paperback)
The four Alden children — Henry, Jesse, Violet, and Benny — are runaways. After their parents’ death they were supposed to go live with their grandfather; but the man is mean, and disliked their mother, so the children think he will dislike them as well.
While trying to find a place to stay dry during a fast-approaching storm, the children discover an abandoned boxcar in the forest. They decide to live in the boxcar, but they must keep it a secret, in case their grandfather is looking for them.
Henry goes to a nearby town to find work, and does chores for the town doctor. But the childrens’ grandfather is closer than any of them would have thought.
A childhood classic
I’ve always loved The Boxcar Children series (19 in total), but it’s been a long time since I’ve read any of them. On my last trip to the local library, I decided to add the first book to my check-out stack.
It’s been quite some time since I read a story written for really young children. It’s large print, there are pictures, and the language and situations are simplistic. All problems are solved in 155 pages, with all the loose ends tied up and squared away.
Of course this isn’t a bad thing — it is children’s literature after all. I’m still just as in love with the idea of living in a boxcar as I was when I first read the book many years ago. Warner makes it sound like so much fun, although these days you’re more likely to be slaughtered in your pine needle bed by a psychopath.
Possibility of vicious murder aside, I really enjoyed re-reading The Boxcar Children, and am planning to get Surprise Island (the second in the series) next time I’m at the library. These are the two books in the series with which I feel the most connection, so I doubt I’ll read the other 17.
A great book to read aloud, and to let your imagination run wild. Two thumbs up.
“Now Jessie liked to have things in order, and so she put the laundry bag on some pine needles for a table cloth. Then she cut the loaf of brown bread into five big pieces. The cheese was cut into four…Violet put the four bottles of milk on the table, and Jessie put some blueberries and cheese at each place.” (p. 40)
Have you read any of this series? Don’t you think it would be fun to live in a boxcar, or is that just me?