Friday, October 2, 2009

Boxcar Children Books




"Mom! That store over there has 5 boxcars for $5.00!"



During the middle to late elementary years, my oldest son "collected" Boxcar Children books. He devoured them, reading one a day. Recently, with four daughters middle school age and younger, we've dusted off the covers and crowded onto the love seat to read. We are now devouring these books. Thankfully, my oldest son has agreed to let us "borrow" titles from his library. After all, he did purchase most of them.



My love for these books as been rekindled. Four siblings work together to solve mysteries, generally mysteries which occur in their hometown, Greenfield. Yes, they work together! Siblings! Each helps solve the mystery with his or her unique gifts or interests. As they work together, they encourage one another. What refreshment! Never have we heard any of the siblings call another a name that wasn't given at birth. What a way to reinforce positive sibling relationships! We have come to love this family (me, for the second time around!).



Here is why I like to read the Boxcar books together:


  • The Boxcar children are resourceful. They use what they have or what they can find. They don't head to the store everytime they "need" something, and don't whine over something they don't have.

  • The Boxcar siblings protect and care for one another. A few days ago during the mystery the children were trying to solve, the oldest brother pushed his younger siblings from the edge of the curb where they were in danger of being hit by an oncoming reckless driver.

  • The Boxcar siblings are children of integrity. Just yesterday we heard Henry say, "She belongs to us for now, at least until we find her owner." He knew their new found pet was not really theirs, he was just trying to give it a good home, UNTIL the owner could be found. And then, they tried to find the owner. No ill intentions here.

  • The Boxcar siblings serve people. Last night as we read the last chapters of The Animal Shelter Mystery, we listened in on a conversation which took place in the Alden kitchen. Jessie, the oldest daughter, offered hot tea to a cold elderly neighbor.

  • The Boxcar siblings honor and respect adults. Never a unkind word has be spoken to or about an adult character in the book. Again, a refreshing feature.

Some might say these are not "realisitic". Well, perhaps. But I believe "realistic" is an individual opionion. Personally, I like my young ones relating to positive familiy interations woven with care for the community. I want their "realistic" to be serving and protecting those people whom God puts in our midst.


I love that each book is thematic. For example, the book we just finished involved saving the community animal shelter. While reading and discussing the plot, my children learned the ins and outs of caring for stray animals and how shelters are run. We were exposed to animal shelter vocabluary and pet care. Part of the plot involved deeds and land ownership, so we were also introduced to state capitals, land offices, and record rooms.


The author of the Boxcar Children series, Gertrude Chandler Warner, wrote the books so that young readers could enjoy an exciting story, one they could read independently. The plots of the books are written from her personal experiences and childhood adventures. She wrote the first eighteen books of the series.



Read the information to you children. They will enjoy hearing Miss Warner's life's adventures.
If you are ever in Putnam, Connecticut, vist her museum.




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