Kathryn McCary's Reviews > The Boxcar Children

The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner
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's review
Jan 29, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: on-their-own, children-s-literature

I know I read this as a child--I remember it rather differently. Everything you read as a child seems ever-so-much-moreso, and this is no exception.

Commentary available on the web about Gertrude Chandler Warner repeatedly mentions that she wrote the book because her elementary school students lacked books with exciting incidents but a very simple reading level. She definitely succeeded in filing that gap. They also note that the book was criticized because "the children were having too good a time without any parental control," which Chandler noted was what her young readers liked about it. In that sense, no doubt, it is one of the precursors to Artemis Fowl, and the whole current body of children's literature in which adults are simply unnecessary. Or possibly that's placing too much weight on what is not, really, a heavy book in any sense of the word.

And Chandler's children, even without adult supervision, behave pretty much as if they were under parental control (or, alternatively, one can view it as the two older children essentially stepping into the role of adults). So it is a pleasant, safe, fantasy of what it would be like not to have to put up with Mom and Dad, written from the point of view of someone who thought Mom and Dad were generally right.
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message 1: by Joanne (new)

Joanne I, too, like to read YA and children's books. You're so right, Kathryn, the perspective of maturity changes the message a bit.

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