Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Boxcar Children

I recently brought home The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner from our local library. I remember reading this children's classic as a child and loving it.

The creativity and work ethic of the four boxcar children continue to attract me. As does their politeness and cheerfulness in difficult circumstances. These are all qualities I hope to instill and grow in my own children, so I'll continue to read the original series with my guys.

However, I am a little disappointed at the lack of challenging and imaginative vocabulary included in this story. It is recommended for a reading level of ages 9-12. I think that's mainly because of the plot not because of the difficulty it would pose to slightly younger readers. In fact, I think today's 12 year olds might be a bit bored reading this book on their own.

Since reading the story aloud to William (age 5), I googled Miss Warner and learned there is a museum in Putnam, Connecticut dedicated to her. It's even housed in an old boxcar! Putnam is about an hour from my home so I think we may have to take a field trip there someday.

If this review seems a little mixed it's because I have mixed feelings about it. If you are looking for a book to encourage young or slower readers, then this one's for you. If you want a book that presents quality moral character for your children to emulate, then this one's for you. But if you want a challenging read for an advanced ten year old, my suggestion is to skip it.

Did you read The Boxcar Children as a child? Or have you read it to your children? If so, what did you think about it?

For more book reviews click over to 5 Minutes for Books Children's Classics carnival.

9 comments:

Jennifer, Snapshot said...

Thanks for joining in! I didn't know about the museum, and that's interesting, because I also researched the author when I posted something on my blog about these books (it was a while ago).

I do agree that they are good for younger readers. Amanda loved them, but I think it was more end of 1st and 2nd grade reading for her. You know there are a billion of them--newer ones as well.

Lauren@Baseballs&Bows said...

I absolutely loved this book as a child, and I was surprised at the simplistic language when I went back to read it as an adult. I don't think a 12 year old today would want to read it, but I do think 6-8 year olds would still enjoy it!

Bluestocking said...

I loved this series as a child.

http://web.me.com/bluestocking_bb

Carrie said...

I read (and loved!) this series growing up. I've started collecting them to read with my son. I liked reading your review of them though because it's been awhile since I've revisted them. It's good to know. Thanks for your honesty!

Julie said...

Great post, I completely agree with what you said. My ds2 enjoyed this series when he was younger and I am looking forward to my ds3 enjoying it as well.

Debbie said...

The Boxcar Children was the first book I ever remember being read aloud to me....so how can it not be my very favorite? (hmmm...that was back in 1966. Problaby before you were born LOL )
I am sure there is a lot of notalgia for me in the memories of the book. I have reread it, to my sons and then to my grandsons, and yes, it does have simplistic language. I don't know... a product of the times maybe? That wouldn't hold true tho of other books written during the same time period.
My son and his wife are in Connecticut going to school, I'm going to cal them now and tell them about the museum. And to scheduel a visit when I am back there.
Anyway, I loved the books. Mostly because of the good memories they bring.

Amy said...

I remember the Box Car children from first grade! My teacher read it aloud to the class at the end of each school day...fun memory! :)

Alicia said...

I LOVED these books as a child, and have not gone back as an adult and read them. Good heads up on what to expect.

Amy said...

Yes, this is exactly how I feel about it. Thanks for sharing the link!

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