Tuesday, August 02, 2011

The Boxcar Children

The Boxcar Children. Gertrude Chandler Warner. 1942. 155 pages.

One warm night four children stood in front of a bakery. No one knew them. No one knew where they had come from. The baker's wife saw them first, as they stood looking in at the window of her store. The little boy was looking at the cakes, the big boy was looking at the loaves of bread, and the two girls were looking at the cookies.

Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny are orphans. Scared of a grandfather they never met, these children are running away. When the novel opens, they are seeking refuge for the night, asking permission to sleep on the benches of the bakery shop. (They bought bread). After hearing the couple discuss them--on how they should "keep" the three oldest because they would be useful to have around as workers, but how the youngest one would need to go to a Children's Home--Henry and Jessie decide to wake everyone and leave while they still have a chance. They walk most of the night, sleep most of the day. Their journey takes them into the woods, and during a storm, they seek shelter in an abandoned boxcar. It doesn't take the children very long to realize that if a boxcar is good shelter from a storm, it would be a good home for always. There is a town within walking distance so that Henry can find work and buy food. And the rest of the children can do what they can to make it a real home. And that is just what they do...day by day creating a home for themselves.

I liked  The Boxcar Children. I did. I had read it more than a few times growing up, but it had been at least fifteen or twenty years since I'd last read it. It was such a treat to read it again. It's a simple book, in many ways, yet it's got its charms. I liked how these children do make a home for themselves. How they work together as a family. While I wouldn't say that I ever loved this one as much as Mandy or Anne of Green Gables or The Secret Garden, I have definitely always liked it.

© 2011 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Stephanie said...

Oh, I love that series! It's written to be readable for young readers, so the vocab is perfect for children new to chapter books. It's definitely a much easier read than Anne of Green Gables!

Ash Nichols said...

I loved those books when I was growing up! I keep meaning to re read them (and a few others) but they never seem to be as wonderful from adult eyes.

The Tuckerbag

Kailana said...

I have never seen that cover before. The copies I still have in storage have the more colourful ones.

Ms. Yingling said...

Loved the first one but could do without all of the mysteries. Have you ever read a biography of the author? Quite an interesting person.

Grace said...

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this series, they were my all time favorite for a loooong time. I read all of them at my library and ordered more from other librarys. I remember thinking how exciting they were!