Saturday, September 23, 2006

The Boxcar Children

I have always enjoyed reading with my kids as well as reading some children's or young adult fiction for my own enjoyment. I have really enjoyed sharing some of my old favorites with Amanda, as well as new discoveries, but just recently as we were deciding on our next read-aloud, she suggested the book that we should share, "Let's read the Boxcar Children, the first one. You are always asking questions about the children who live in a boxcar and how they got there, and now you'll be able to find out!"

Reading along with her as the guide has been a delight. Most chapters end with a kind of suspense that pulls the reader along. Amanda, having the upper hand of knowledge since she has read the book already, loves to ask me, "So, what do you think will happen?" She has been proud to share it with me and lead in the discovery of these new characters.

This is a great story, and I can see why the series is one of my daughter's favorites. I don't know how the stories written latercompare with the first eighteen which Gertrude Chandler wrote herself, but I find many things to admire about this book:
  • the glorification and positive spin on chores and responsibilities
  • the love and care that the siblings show for each other
  • a healthy dose of imagination and suspended reality as the kids live alone and take care of themselves.

Ms. Chandler herself once wrote to her fans, "Perhaps you know that the original Boxcar Children raised a storm of protest from librarians who thought the children were having too good a time without any parental control! That is exactly why children like it! Most of my own childhood exploits, such as living in a freight car, received very little cooperation from my parents."

As I was searching for some information about Gertrude Chandler, I came across this page on that has some great unit information on this book and the series. It would be great supplemental work for use at home or in a homeschooling unit.

I also used this source for Ms. Chandler's
biographical information.


Erin said...

I gobbled these books up when I was younger!

RANDI said...

My girls loved those books when they were younger! I really need to introduce them to my boys!

Tammy said...

You know, although I've always heard of them, I don't think I ever have actually read any of them! That is a great series to put on my list to read in the next year with my seven year old...thank you for the recommendation, Jennifer! :)

Kathleen Marie said...

My kids all loved these books and I agree, they are full of good role models, good morals and family value. I don't think we ever read beyond the original either as I inherited them from my Mom-in-law.

The Horatio Alger books are also excellent.

Beck said...

My oldest munchkin read and loved the first one in that series, too! I thought it was a terrific little book. And ooooh, that evil baker!

Susanne said...

I never read one of these books. Maybe I'll have to read them with the fall reading challenge!

L.L. Barkat said...

This is good news... I just got one from the library, as the next step to get my seven year old reading with confidence.

So many selections are less than appealing, but this sounds good! Thanks... I feel encouraged.

Nettie said...

I loved that book. The first one is the best by far. Even the later ones she wrote aren't as good. I remember being so impressed with how the children willingly worked and took care of each other. A great book to read to siblings!