The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Warner Chandler

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 10-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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