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Surprise Island (The Boxcar Children Mysteries #2)
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Surprise Island (The Boxcar Children #2)

3.92  ·  Rating Details ·  7,551 Ratings  ·  263 Reviews
Now living with their grandfather, the orphaned Alden Children spend the summer exploring their own private island. There's a mysterious stranger on the island who must keep his identity a secret - but that's not the only surprise in store for the Boxcar Children!

This acclaimed BOXCAR series has sold over twetny million copies in paperback.

From the Cassette edition.
Published September 27th 2011 by Listening Library (Audio) (first published January 1st 1949)
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Meredith Buchanan
I was going to read Surprise Island, and then comment on it, but every page is such a treasure trove of clichés, naïveté, and ridiculousness, that I think I might have to grace you with a running commentary.

Chapter One: The First Surprise

The book begins with Grandfather lovingly telling his grandchildren that he bought them an island, *cough* I mean, his father bought an island a long time ago, and they can stay there ALL SUMMER. He’d visit, but he’s just too busy.

Grandfather: (Shrug.) “But boy,
This is an enjoyable enough children's story where four siblings are permitted to spend their summer holidays living in an old barn on an island, supervised - from afar - by an old fisherman and a young handy man with a mysterious past. Themes apparent in the novel's predecessor, The Boxcar Children - the practicality and (relative) independence of the children, the sexual division of labour and the extent to which the kids co-operate on various tasks (which I remarked upon in my review of tha ...more
Morgan McGuire
The first Boxcar Children book was classic and precious. My children love this sequel and the writing is good, but the plot / structure is disturbingly insane. Really, not that cuddly madcap Nesbit/Lewis kind of insane that you can get away with in a children's book.

Why does the grandfather leave them alone on an island with a strange man? That's just creepy. Every time that mystery Joe takes little Violet down to the shack for a private violin lesson I freak out.

The children almost drown, trap
I decided to read one of the Boxcar Children books after reminiscing about them with a colleague. Turns out, they are pretty strange from an adult perpective. When I was a kid, I thought it would be great to be as self-sufficient as these kids. As an adult, I'm thinking, "What, you let your grandkids live on an island for the summer with nobody but some stranger who lost his memory?!" But still, they're good books. It was fun to take a trip down memory lane with this group of resourceful youngin ...more
Cait S
Jun 28, 2016 Cait S rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf
Holy racism Batman. My nostalgic journey with this series has come to an ABRUPT end.

Excuse me. I'll just stick with Babysitter's Club.
May 02, 2013 Irene rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Elementary school aged kids
Shelves: children
I am really loving this series!

This book has all four children equally represented, and I feel we do get to know them a little better. I probably should not have read any of the books out of order; this being the second in the series, it makes sense that this book would have more character development than some of the later books, when the kids are already established characters. Here, we learn that Violet is artistic (she likes to paint and she has a gift for music), Jessie really is a great co
D.M. Dutcher
In this book, the children's grandfather reveals the surprise that he owns a small island. He allows the children to summer on it, and they spend their time exploring, making friends with their guardian Joe, and having an all-around fun time.

It's always odd to read sequels to The Boxcar Children, because the first book sounded like it took place in the 1900s, while future ones jump into the 1950s. This book tries to bring back the spirit of the children living on their own, which was what made t
The orphaned Alden children (Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny) and their dog Watch now lives with their grandfather James Alden. Their grandfather had a surprise for the children – the opportunity to spend the summer on a small island his father bought. Dr. Moore and his mother went along to enjoy the island for the summer. Captain Daniel took them to the island and delivered supplies to them. On the island the children lived in the barn while the grandfather returned to the mainland for
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
Published seven years after the first Boxcar Children book, I found this one disappointing. The language is more stilted and unnatural, both in dialogue and narration. I had expected the author to have polished her style (or at least maintained it) over the years, but instead it echoed the elementary-school readers of the late 50s and early 60s, with graded vocabulary, choppy sentences and short words. Yes, it is for younger readers, but I found it more obviously "schoolbooky" than the first one ...more
Laken Doom
Oct 21, 2012 Laken Doom rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: popular-series
This second book in the popular series "The Boxcar Children" was written by Gertrude Chandler Warner and illustrated by Mary Gehr. This book follows the summer of four children Jessie, Henry, Benny and Violet. The four children are surprised by their grandfather when he announces he not only owns an island but that they will be staying on that island all summer long by themselves! We follow them all throughout their journey on the island and learn about Indians that used to live on the island ba ...more
Oct 02, 2011 Kokoro rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read 131 to 143 pages on Friday, October 21. Benny is Reconciliationed with Mike. I'm glad.

I read 118 to 130 pages on Wednesday, October 19. They painted bird. Because, it was rain day. And, Jessie make a big applepie. Then, they eat with Mr. Browning.
The other day, four children invite their friends. But, Benny and his friend Mike are started fighting...

I read 98 to 117 pages on Tuesday, October, 18. I like "Grandfather's visit." Grandfather is coming to island. Then, four children show th
Nicola Mansfield
Sep 02, 2011 Nicola Mansfield rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reason for Reading: This is another book from the Random Bookshelf that I am reading from this year.The Boxcar Children have played a big part in my and my children's lives. I intend to acquire a complete set of the first 19 books (the others hold no interest to me) and keep them as keepers on my juvenile shelves for my future grandchildren.

Book 2 is very similar to that of the first in the series. First of all, there is no real mystery except for the hidden identity of a man on the island known
For the most part I enjoyed the book, it was a favourite series of mine when I was a child, although this one I don't remember reading, it was still a nice, quick read. The characters have grown a bit, but they still manage to go on an interesting adventure. I think the book is well worth reading for the age range, even if it is quite outdated, as I think a lot of readers can relate to the characters.

One of the issues I had with the book, was, I found parts of it a bit unbelievable at times in
Jamala Alkeshi
This is another great Boxcar children book continuing the story of them finally finding their grandpa and living in the boxcar in his backyard. This is when the books start to become mystery's and the boxcar children are solving them all by themselves. In this book they find out that their grandpa has an island that they eventually get to go spend the summer on. Eventually they start finding evidence that Indians used to live on the island, and it starts to become a mysterious Island as they unc ...more
I think this one actually stands up to the test of time better than the first. Although, really? You are letting four kids under the age of 15 live on an island, basically unsupervised, for an entire summer? THEY ARE LIVING IN A BARN, ALL DAY, ALL NIGHT, ALL SUMMER. Anyways, the writing is a little less stiff, and there are more plotlines that run through the entire book, rather than peter out after a chapter. Things come a little too easily to the Alden family, but what can you expect from old ...more
I read this with PB, hoping for a nice, warm feeling of nostalgia. Instead, I was hit with the reality of just how bad these books are. The writing is bad (how many times can she used the speaking tag "cried" for Benny?!), the story is mundane and repetitive (oh look, the children are having milk and bread for dinner - again), and the kids don't act anything like real children (I have to assume that not only did the author not have children, but that she never spent any time around an actual chi ...more
Andrew Jameson
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aimee Taylor
This series of books by Gertrude Chandler Warner are true masterpieces for children moving from learning to read to reading to learn. The storyline about independent, self sufficient children is engaging. More importantly Warner builds in a lot of word repetition as the series advances and carefully introduces new words a little at a time. She reinforces these new words and their variations - Violet to violin - progressively. She integrates novel sentence constructions and idioms in a way that i ...more
May 07, 2013 Natalie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adolescent
I read this book to my six year old son and it took us many sittings to finish. It wasn't as quick or exciting as the first book, there was really no mystery and there wasn't anything at stake. It sort of meandered like a stream, taking the story this way and that, but never really making any progress. These children also don't act like any 6, 10, 12, and 14 year olds that I know. Who leaves four children to their own devices on a private island for the summer with only a teenager and a crotchet ...more
Jun 20, 2013 Holly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is all about independents, exploring, and resourcefulness.

This book picks up with the four kids, Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny, living with their grandfather. One day Grandfather announces a big surprise. He owns an island. The kids are excited to find out that they will be able to staying on an island for summer vacation. The kids enjoy exploring the island and creating adventure. As with the first book they are very resourceful but this time in using the things they find on the i
Jan 28, 2013 Christi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another great "chapter" book in the Boxcar series. This book focuses on the wonderful adventures that the little "family" of four children have on a small island owned by their Grandfather. It's full of the same theme as the previous book, that hard work, family, and working together will be of benefit for all. There are a couple new characters in this book along with the "mystery" that truly is a fun one to play along with and my 4 and 2 year old girls loved the anticipation of waiting until th ...more
Mar 16, 2012 Traci rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Boxcar Children is an amazing series. I used to read them all the time. Mysteries were always my favorite growing up and still really interest me. This book was great because there was a lot of suspense and you always had to keep reading because you wanted to know what was going on. I was never bored and couldn't put it down. The four children in the story are orphans but go to live with their grandpa and spend the summer on an island where strange things keep happening. There is also a stra ...more
Jun 21, 2012 Jodi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: not sure
Decent book but dated - it was written in 1949. My kids were shocked at the thought of 4 children being allowed to live in a stable on an island for the summer with little adult supervision. Sure it would be fun and maybe during the time this book was written it was possible, but today it would never be allowed. Also, my modern mentality made my hackles raise at the thought of a strange man on the island who kept showing up to talk to the children. Of course, it all worked out fine with it being ...more
Cathrine Bonham
Aug 30, 2014 Cathrine Bonham rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This second book in the Boxcar Children series is much like the first. The four Alden children are excited about spending the summer on their Grandfather's privet island. But this island is no resort. The Children will have to look after themselves including but not limited to growing and catching their own food. But he is not a cruel grandfather, he knows that they actually like it this way and naturally there is adult supervision in the form of a kindly boat captain and his handyman.
Ann Moody
May 02, 2014 Ann Moody rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I really don't like this series. These kids are on their own almost all the time, day and night, with minimal guardian supervision, and being exposed to, and trusting, various questionable adults who seem shady, but of course always turn out to be benevolent. Saccharine, unrealistic interactions between these angelic beings who seem impervious to the normal dangers of the world.
Aug 24, 2015 Kelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-to-my-child
My seven year old loved book one and couldn't wait to start this one. As an adult I don't mind reading them, but he loves them! I gave the book four stars because he really likes this series.

I appreciate the clean fun adventures these children have. My son has asked a lot of questions and we have had a lot of discussions about what it would be like to have no parents.

Denae Christine
Well, I remember really liking these when I was younger. Now I read them and realize . . . they're pretty dull. Everyone is nice to everyone else. You hear about neat things like lobster-hunting, but nothing really goes wrong. These books are just so mild compared to the ones I read this millenium.
Sep 15, 2014 Amanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(All I could think was that Grandfather would get arrested if he let his grandkids spend a summer alone on an island a couple generations in the future.) My kids really liked this and I did too. I love when childhood favorites are still fun as an adult.
Oct 08, 2014 Annie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I liked when Benny howled and cried when he couldn't see the men blow the top off the cave. I also liked when the children made a museum; I'm going to make a museum, too! Benny's birthday was my favorite part.
The first and second books in this series are pretty similar. They're both basically the 4 children surviving and cooking their own meals and having fun. They're pretty cute and set the stage for future books to come.
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Gertrude Chandler Warner was born in Putnam, Connecticut, on April 16, 1890, to Edgar and Jane Warner. Her family included a sister, Frances, and a brother, John. From the age of five, she dreamed of becoming an author. She wrote stories for her Grandfather Carpenter, and each Christmas she gave him one of these stories as a gift. Today, Ms. Warner is best remembered as the author of THE BOXCAR CH ...more
More about Gertrude Chandler Warner...

Other Books in the Series

The Boxcar Children (1 - 10 of 145 books)
  • The Boxcar Children (The Boxcar Children, #1)
  • The Yellow House Mystery (The Boxcar Children, #3)
  • Mystery Ranch (The Boxcar Children, #4)
  • Mike's Mystery (The Boxcar Children, #5)
  • Blue Bay Mystery (The Boxcar Children, #6)
  • The Woodshed Mystery (The Boxcar Children, #7)
  • The Lighthouse Mystery (The Boxcar Children, #8)
  • Mountain Top Mystery (The Boxcar Children, #9)
  • Schoolhouse Mystery (The Boxcar Children, #10)
  • Caboose Mystery (The Boxcar Children, #11)

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“Right!” said Joe. “My middle name is Joseph, anyway.” 1 likes
“You did right, my dear,” said Mr. Alden. “People should have what they want on birthdays.” 1 likes
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