Surprise Island (The Boxcar Children #2)

The second Boxcar Children book and the first of the formula that would come to define the series. It’s summer and the children are off to an adventure to an island Grandfather owns , more or less by themselves (although two other adults live on the island). They make a house, explore, find mysteries, and generally have an idyllic time.

“Now, tell us, Grandfather,” cried Henry. “We ran all the way home from school.”

From an adult perspective, it remains bizarre. Grandfather left them alone with an old friend and a new stranger (at the time) to fend for themselves. They have the run of the island and nearly drown at one point. But from a child’s, it’s a cute story and teachers the value of adventure, learning, and self sufficiency, while still turning to adults when you need to and listening to the voices of experience. It’s escapism and it’s enjoyable.

I’d argue The Boxcar Children was stronger, but it’s a good bridge into what I vaguely remember/expect will be the formula for a time to come.

Then Henry said, “Grandfather, that’s one thing we can’t understand. Why didn’t we ever get to go into that little yellow house? Doesn’t it belong to you?”

Mr. Alden looked at his grandchildren. Then he said quietly, “That’s another story.”

That it is. :)