[PDF / Epub] ☃ The Boxcar Children ✑ Gertrude Chandler Warner – Saudionline.co.uk

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10 thoughts on “The Boxcar Children

  1. says:

    I read this book as a child and oh, did I ever cherish it. I'm a detail-oriented person, and this book speaks to the super organized control freak in me. Warner weaves so many details into the lives of the Boxcar children that, as a young'un, I found myself mentally picturing their home in exquisite detail. Over a decade since I last read it, I still remember the milk kept cool by the waterfall, or the kids carrying the cherries back to the boxcar between them. These details are the strength of the book - for the little girl or boy who liked playing house and inventing routines, this book is perfect escapism.

    The book is by no means perfect - the children are saccharine, never fight and they don't seem to have much in the way of distinct personalities beyond their age-directed roles in the family unit. Also, as the series goes on, I was always confused as to why they inexplicably began solving mysteries, since this first book has nothing to do with anything like that. The book really does romanticize homelessness tremendously as well. Nothing bad ever befalls the children, they never go hungry or have any serious problems in meeting all their basic needs.

    Still, because of how much I loved this book, I can't help giving it a better rating than it probably deserves, if only to reflect how much dang fun it was for me to read and re-read as a child.

  2. says:

    When I was young, around the age of 7 I think, my mother was hospitalized for several months. I went to stay with my aunt and uncle. I missed my parents dreadfully. One warm afternoon while wandering around around on their property, I found a box of old books in a barn of sorts. I picked up The Boxcar Children and begain to read. My loneliness disappeared, and my life changed forever. The story pulled me in and I couldn't put it down. I felt as if I was a part of their adventures and the boxcar. Since that day 50 years ago, I have been an avid reader. I read this book to my children, I have even shared it with my grandchildren. I have an original copy and I will pass it down to one of my children when I pass.

    To the adults that read this book and gave it low reviews, I think to really enjoy this book you must be a child. The simple mystery, and exploration is made for a young child's mind.
    Yet the sad truth is children are now spoon feed TV, DVDs and Video games at an early age, little imagination is needed. Maybe thats it, maybe this book is just to simple now days.

  3. says:

    I never came across this book as a child - presumably it did not cross the Atlantic to the UK where I grew up on a diet of the Secret Seven and the Famous Five. So I thought I would check it out now as it sits at the top of many popularity lists.
    Having read all the reviews I think many people must be giving it five stars just for nostalgia value because to an adult outsider like me it certainly does not get five stars for content! However it is a nice, child friendly story with a degree of action but nothing truly scary or worrying. The four children are caring and sharing and totally unreal, but this is fiction we are reading!
    Today's children would still enjoy it for the pure fun of reading about four children setting up home in a box car and making a success of it. I can understand why it is so popular and why it holds a special place in the hearts of those who read it years ago.

  4. says:

    I absolutely LOVE this book and the entire BOXCAR CHILDREN series!!! Seeing this on a list of the Top 100 Children's Books, I simply had to add it to my Goodreads shelves. It was the book that pulled me in - hook, line, and sinker - as a passionate reader and supporter of public libraries. And praise be, many of my grandchildren are now discovering the magical joy of reading and have contemporary copies of this wonderful series, too.

    For more titles on the Top 100 Children's Books list: www.goodreads.com/blog/show/643-the-t...

  5. says:

    Never having read any of The Boxcar Children series as a kid, a friend recently gave me a copy of an ebook comprising the first 12 volumes to see what I missed out on. As a boy, I had been a fan of Enid Blyton's books, which were largely set in Britain, so I was curious to see how something similar from the US would read. I had also read that The Boxcar Children series is still very popular among kids despite having started in the 1940s.

    As the book was first published 70 years ago, I was expecting it to be somewhat old-fashioned and sexist. To some degree this is true. The four orphaned children mimic the typical white middle-class family with the older boy and girl taking on parental roles towards the younger girl and boy according to a largely traditional sexual division of labour. Henry, the older boy, goes into town to do odd jobs so that he can earn money to buy food and other needed items, such as a tablecloth, for himself and his siblings. Jessie, the older girl, stays at home to mind the younger kids (at one point cutting Benny's hair) and acts as a housekeeper, washing clothes and cooking meals. Similarly, Henry makes a cart for Benny while Violet is thrilled to hem the new tablecloth and Jessie makes a broom. However, the girls are also resourceful in locating an old dump from which cracked, but serviceable, crockery and a cooking kettle could be salvaged. They also make, with the help of little Benny, a stone-lined fire-pit over which the kettle could be suspended from a wire strung between two trees. Jessie also made a ladle from a tin cup fastened to a stick and used charcoal to write words on sheets of wrapping paper so that Benny could start learning to read.

    But the kids also work together to build a small dam across a stream and instead of Henry using his age and gender to dictate what the group should do, he often asks Jessie for her advice. It is probably because he is the eldest that Henry is always the one to light the fire, and it is his strength (as the oldest and biggest child) that is sometimes needed to lift heavier rocks.

    The book subtley teaches some practical wisdom - to always drink water from a water pump or fountain as opposed to a brook, that things can be recycled, to use boiling water to rinse off crockery found in a dump instead of just washing it in cold water, to use sand as a scouring agent, how to manage time (Jessie washing everyone's stockings while the others built the dam), using pine needles as bedding, locating a hearth away from anything that might catch fire (and having a container of water to hand in case something did catch light), and so on.

    The children are also respectful of other people's property, with for example Henry asking permission to take stunted vegetables thinned out from a vegetable patch or bent nails from a garage rather than presuming to take them even though they would've been discarded anyway.

    The overall impression I have of reading the book is that the kids are very practical and independent (except, not unreasonably, when it comes to illness). They seem to belong to a can-do generation unlike many of today's children whom, I feel, are more dependent and infantilised. Many schools in the US apparently ban kids of even high school age from possessing or using a pointed pair of scissors because it could hurt somebody. Likewise pen-knives are forbidden. And how many kids today could make a broom, hem a cloth or make a cart without the help of parents or other adults? Books like The Boxcar Children therefore serve as useful and accessible repositories of practical knowledge and advice that kids today and in the future can learn and that will hopefully encourage them to explore, make, repair, and innovate in ways that endless hours of computer games and cartoons on TV will not.

    A couple of things that made me go 'hmmm' include the kids not hearing thunder as they slept outside in a wood (is that even possible?), or the description of the kids after a day spent cherry-picking as being 'better than most workers, because [they] are so happy' (so most workers should go about their work gleefully in order to be considered 'good'?). Henry also seems to be a bit dense later in the story in not recognising a man he had only seen a day or two before - but this is probably to add a little tension to the narrative and to get any kids reading the book a bit frustrated over how long Henry was taking to figure it out.

    Apart from these minor quibbles, this is a book I would recommend to any child old enough to read it - and maybe for those adults who want to catch up with aspects of their childhood that they missed.

  6. says:

    I read this in 1993 when I was in 3rd grade and just loved it.
    I never thought of all the gender stereotypes because I knew that it was an old book and you often see that in old books.
    Come on, there is a "horse and cart" coming down the road, the boys are wearing short pants and stockings, and the girls have on kerchiefs over their heads.
    Clearly this is not a modern book and we don't need to expect it to be modern.
    Kids reading it should not be changed or affected by the gender stereotypes because they should be able to understand that in the past, things were very different than how they are now.

    To children reading this when it was re-released in 1942, children who had been through the great depression, this book told them what kind of people they should be... ever optimistic even in hard times, good at working together toward a common goal without fighting with each other, self-relient and hard working. Good lessons for kids in any time period, including today.

    History of it, for those interested.....
    People think it came out in 1942.
    But they often don't know this actually came out in 1924 but few copies were made and it is extremely hard to find an original. The books is very different from the current version.
    I do have one, and many things were changed. Some of the characters names are different, there are a lot more adventures in the book (the current version is shortened), and the kids actual mom and dad are included in the beginning of the book before they died (and it was a bit darker, because apparently they got drunk a lot and were not said to be good parents- so if you thought it was odd that the kids aren't upset over their dead parents, well, maybe that's why).
    The book was also a lot more descriptive than now.
    But anyway, it was published by a different company in 1924. Then, in 1942, it was re-published but the new company had the author re-write it to simplify it for younger children to read. That's why there are all the changes.
    The current version, the 1942 version, is the same as the version you read today.

  7. says:

    If I had just given this a rating instead of feeling the need to re-read it, I would have clicked five stars and moved on with my life. I remember REALLY liking these books when I was a kid. And I like to think of myself as fundamentally the same person. Turns out, The Boxcar Children series is terrible! The only reason I gave it two stars was out of respect for the sliver of memory I have left of enjoying it. The writing is uninspired, the situations are improbable, and the stories aren't even mysteries! This weekend I read The Boxcar Children, The Bicycle Mystery, and the Bus Stop Mystery (which was the worst of the three, by far). What a letdown.

  8. says:

    I have always heard such good things about this children's series...but never took the time to read any of the books. This year I decided to make a concentrated effort to revisit favorite books/series that I love and to finally read books I've always wanted to read. This series made the list. I'm so glad I took the time finally to enjoy this sweet story! I enjoyed it enough to read more!

    The Boxcar Children series was originally started in the 1920's. Gertrude Chandler Warner was a first grade teacher, and wanted to write an adventure story for young children. This first book was originally published in 1924, but revised, edited and re-released in 1942. Warner added 18 more books to the series, starting with Surprise Island in 1949. More than 132 books were added to the series by other authors, as well as a couple spin off series. I can understand why -- this adventure story is sweet, engaging and fun to read. I'm 50 years old, and still loved this tale of four children who want to stay together at all costs after the loss of their parents.

    This first story introduces Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny. After being orphaned, they are roaming and working to survive as a family. They have a grandfather, but they are afraid of him. They find an abandoned boxcar near a town and make it their home. They trust very few people because they are afraid of being sent to an orphanage and split up. They have quite the adventure! Great story for kids and adults!

    I listened to the audio book version of this story (Oasis Audio). Narrated by Aimee Lilly, the audio is just under 2 hours long. Lilly reads at a nice, steady pace and has a pleasant voice. She gave a great performance. This audio would be fun and interesting for both kids and adults.

    I'm definitely going to keep reading this series. It's happy, innocent and enjoyable. Sometimes I need a "feel good'' story, even if it was written for young children. :)

  9. says:

    My love for reading was formed during my early years and I can clearly remember the books that brought it about. The picture books were all a blur of toddling first steps, a means to get to the main event…chapter books. I was never the child you had to force to check out the “big kids’ books”, I was the one that had to be reminded of the checkout limit. To be submerged in an ocean of bound together written words was and still is divine!!!

    This book deserves a nod for creating two reading interests for me: the mystery and the series. I can now laugh at the far-fetched premise of orphaned children living in a boxcar solving mysteries but at the time, I was hooked. I can guarantee part of my want for a clubhouse stemmed from this read, though sadly by the time I got a treehouse I was past mysteries and more into MLP and TMNT.

  10. says:

    Picked this one up on the serial app mostly for the nostalgia factor but also hit a PopSugar Challenge prompt of reading a book in a series with over 20 books. Who knew?

    Four siblings whose parents pass away leaving them to fend for themselves and run away from their town before their grandfather can find them. They find a old boxcar that they quickly inhabit and live in. They have adventures, adopt an Airedale, Watch, and earn a small living helping out the local Doctor. All is happy and a tad unbelievable, but it was fun to dig into this timeframe and a feel good adventure with some cute additions.

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