The Boxcar Children, Gertrude Warner Chandler – Book Review


the-boxcar-childrenThe Boxcar Children, by Gertrude Chandler Warner
Publisher:  Albert Whitman & Co.
Publication Date:  1942
Format: Hardcover, 154 pages

Earlier this year I made a list of things that I want to do and one of those things is having a sleepover with my 8-year-old cousin once a month.  I am making it a point to read with her and I have been introducing her to the classics that I have loved reading over the years.  And it’s getting to be really fun now that she can read better and for longer periods of time.  She reads chapter books now. So proud!

Besides The Wednesday Witch by Ruth Chew (which is now out-of print and a serious amount of money on Amazon) and The Little House Series, The Boxcar Children is one of my favorite books for kids. Four children go on the run together rather than be separated after the death of their parents. After escaping a bakery running couple, who want to keep the two older children to put them to work and dump the younger kids to an orphanage, they run away.  While trying to hide in the woods they come upon an abandoned boxcar where they set up camp and learn to fend for themselves.

I love this book! I think it’s one of the best children’s books ever. I love that it shows the kids going through steps to survive out on their own.  They gather food, find old dishes and housewares in their local dump and clean them with sand and spring water, they prepare meals together.  It’s so cute.  I like that what happens to them is well thought out.  The older boy gets a job mowing grass and helping out at a farm and earns the family some money.  Of course they are miraculously reunited with a super wealthy uncle at the end, which in any adult story I would be up in arms over a saccharine ending, but it’s fitting here.  My cousin loves the story and she loves all the mysteries as well, but so far I’m a purist and won’t read the books that have come after the original.  They just aren’t the boxcar children if they are running around with an uncle, and without the boxcar, and solving mysteries?  What’s up with that?

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  1. Nicole: Lately I’ve been going back to my childhood, rereading books from my childhood for a new feature on my blog called Monday’s Memory. This is going to be an upcoming book because it was one of my favorites growing up. I want to see if it still holds up. I don’t know if I even realized there was a series.
    Oh, I’ve also added you to my reader. I should have done that back when we did that review together, but finally I’m getting it in there. Thanks for stopping by my blog and reminding me. 🙂

  2. I loved this book so much! I have tried to get my daughters to read it, but they have resisted. I may need to trap them on a long car ride and play the audiobook.
    Thanks. Great memories.

  3. Oh, I loved this book! I remember I won an award in third grade for reading every book in the series. I love to go back and re-read these old childhood favorites.

  4. I don’t think I ever read this one, but it’s exactly the sort of story I would have loved.
    However – you mentioned the Wednesday Witch. Check out A quick search (they are absolutely the best when it comes to out of print books) showed several copies for $1 plus shipping.

  5. I remember my mom telling me the story of the boxcar children when we were waiting in the car for somebody. I have never read the book and now I am off to look for it!

  6. Kathy ~ It really is. She wasn’t having it at first. I read a chapter and she acted like she wasn’t into it, and so I said oh well. But then she asked me about it a couple of weeks later and she bought a copy. Now she regularly checks out stories in the mystery series from the library.
    Jen ~ LOVE! They actually stand up rather well.
    Unfinishedperson~ Sounds like a great series. I will definitely check it out. Had been meaning to get back to you as well. I have time issues. It always gets away from me. I also owe you a comment on your Bel Canto Post. I had thoughts and have been too distracted/lazy to write it.
    Ann~ Get them to try a chapter and then let it go. I think my cousin heard a little and got intrigue that I loved it whether she did or not.
    Icedream ~ That is some accomplishment. That is a pretty extensive series. I can’t cheat on #1 though. LOL.
    Lisa~ Thank you! I will check it out today. You can still get in on the Boxcar action. After I read it, my aunt read it and loved it too.
    Susan ~ It’s a real treat. Let me know what you think.
    Framed~ It will be worth it. Read it!

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