Many years ago, my mother would read aloud the Boxcar Children books to my brother and I. We read many many books together for many years, but the Boxcar Children are perhaps the ones I remember most. Now, perhaps it’s time to start passing that along to my own children.
From a child’s perspective, it’s a wonderful little book. The children are on a grand adventure, escapism idealized. They work together to not only survive but thrive without any adults telling them what to do. They get to make their own house in the woods and have a dog and everything ends up all right in the end.
From an adult’s, it’s got a few more problems. While the Boxcar and their surroundings are details, the children themselves don’t seem that different from one another other than age. And they never fight. Uh huh. I have three children. They fight. And at least this time around, nothing bad ever happens to them.
There are actually some pretty good lessons in this book. Keep clean and orderly, make use of what you have, build an oven rather than lighting the woods on fire. The children are extremely independent in a world where that seems increasingly rare. They’re good role models.
I look forward to reading more of the Boxcar children books to my children. At least Gertrude Chandler Warner’s original 19. Perhaps all how-many-ever hundred there are now. :D