Thursday, October 4, 2012

Welcome in Fall with a Good Book -- The Boxcar Children Beginning (Review)


Published 2012 Age Levels: 7-10, Grades: 2-5
Pages: 144
5.50" x 8.00"
Illustrations: One color


Before they were the Boxcar Children, Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny Alden lived with their parents at Fair Meadow Farm.

Although times are hard, the Aldens are happy--"the best family of all," Mama likes to say. One day, a blizzard hits the countryside, and a car is stranded on the road near their farm. The family in the car needs shelter, and when the Aldens take them in, the strangers soon become friends. But things never stay the same at Fair Meadow Farm, and the spring and summer bring events that will forever change the lives of the Alden Children.

Newbery Award-winning author Patricia MacLachlan pays loving tribute to the classic novel by Gertrude Chandler Warner in this story of the Alden children's origins and the challenges they faced before their boxcar adventures. 

My Thoughts:

I was excited to read this book, even though it was for young readers, as I live in Putnam, CT, where Gertrude Chandler Warner hailed from.  We have a boxcar museum down the street from us, which her family donated personal belongings to, and this year marked the 70th anniversary of this popular children's book series.  I had heard about the Boxcar children growing up, but never read any of the books.  And, then when we moved to Putnam, five years ago, one of our first stops was to check out this much talked about museum.  I learned so much on my tour of this boxcar museum, that I couldn't wait to get my hands on a book of Gertrude Chandler Warner's. But, then the girls came and my time was limited.  

So, when I heard about the 70th anniversary being celebrated this year, I made a point to get my hands on The Boxcar Children Beginning by Patricia MacLachlan, as well as other books from the original Boxcar Children series, written by Putnam's own Gertrude Chandler Warner.  In The Boxcar Children Beginning, we learn about the Boxcar children, Henry, Violet, Jessie and Benny, when they lived with their parents on Fair Meadow Farm.  This book gives a little back story of these children, who will soon set out on fun adventures, documented by Gertrude Chandler Warner's timely classics.  This book definitely makes you want to read Gertrude Chandler Warner's tales as you can see that the Alden children are bound for adventure, after seeing how they welcomed guests they took in from a blizzard, and what happened as a result of their new friends.  I am not going to spoil this "beginnings" book for you, or share information about some of the other Boxcar Children books I have read since this one.  But, once you read Patricia's book, you will fall in love with the Aldens children.  Children and adults will welcome the Boxcar children with opens arms, as they enjoy reading about their adventures.

And, if you ever get a chance to visit Putnam, CT, make sure you stop by the Boxcar Children's museum to learn more about Gertrude Chandler Warner.  And, from where you stand on the tracks, look behind you and you will see the childhood home of Gertrude Chandler Warner.  She is a treasure here in Putnam, and for those who have read her books. :-)

Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book by the publisher in order to write up an honest review.  The views above are mine and mine alone.

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