Book nostalgia: The Boxcar Children
By Kristen on June 14th, 2012
The story, for those who never read it or who read it too long ago, is about four siblings who are left to fend for themselves after their parents die. They travel from place to place with a little bit of money they’ve scraped together, trying to stay away from adults who all seem to want to split them up and send the younger children to a foster home. Finally, they find an old abandoned boxcar in the woods which becomes their home.
First, I had no idea that the original book in the series was published 70 years ago in 1942! This explains the somewhat dated dialogue (in one of the first chapters, the children debate whether the meal they are eating is “dinner” or “supper” — a distinction that not many young people these days would make!), but it also speaks to the timelessness of the story. What kid doesn’t dream of living on their own and making their own rules?
Picking up this book again was like visiting old friends. Each of the kids had a distinct personality and role in keeping everyone else safe — Henry, the eldest and most protective, Jessie, the caretaker, Violet, the young but whip-smart little sister, and Benny, the adorable little brother who provides comic relief. I was also amazed by how well they all got along together, which is a feat that I doubt my siblings and I ever accomplished as kids.
Did you read The Boxcar Children series as a kid? What were some of your favorites?