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

(The Boxcar Children #2)

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  10,209 ratings  ·  437 reviews
Summer vacation on an almost private island gives the Aldens a challenge.
Paperback, 192 pages
Published January 1st 1989 by Albert Whitman Company (first published 1949)
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Average rating 3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  10,209 ratings  ·  437 reviews

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Meredith Buchanan
Sep 06, 2012 rated it liked it
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,
The story of the Boxcar Children continues with Surprise Island. The kids have grown accustomed to their new life with their grandfather. But sometimes they miss the days where they had adventures and lived on their own in an abandoned boxcar. So their grandfather has a surprise for them. They get to spend the summer on an island he owns! They have a new friend....and make some cool discoveries!

Another cute story in this children's adventure series! While enjoying this story,
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
Kellyn Roth
Read so many of this series eons ago ... never got through most of 'em, though! ...more
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 t ...more
I was absolutely obsessed with these books when I was younger and decided last year that I was going to slowly reread them. Very slowly apparently as I think I read the first one 4 or 5 months ago. Anyway, these first two are definitely not standing up to the memories I had of them, but they are also the only books not to have 'mystery' in the title and the mystery part is what I remember the most, so I guess these are like the warm-up books and then she settles into a pattern later.

These books
Oct 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Another fun read aloud with my kids. There were a couple things we had to talk about (the terminology “Indian” and what that means now) but overall as fun and magical as I remember from when I was a kid.
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
Oct 20, 2011 rated it liked it
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
This is fine. Not as likable as the first one, but still enjoyable. My friend Anna and I had a debate about whether the children are perfect. She wins this round because Benny does have a little fight with a friend and throws a tantrum. But other than that, they are perfect children.

2019 challenge: a book with a two-word title
Sep 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
(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.
Cait S
Jun 28, 2016 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.
Jan 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: with-parents
My favorite part was when they visited the island and they made a museum. And also that it was everybody's birthday. ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 13, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: children, fiction
Another fun kids’ adventure built around independence and outdoor living and exploration. I can definitely see where the idea of living with your siblings on your own island for a summer would fire the imaginations of young readers. My five-year old daughter certainly enjoyed me reading to her as a bedtime story. Some fun surprises (for the kids) thrown in as well. As with the first Boxcar Children, not necessarily a lot here for an adult reader, but it’s enjoyable enough.
Ashton Noel
Aug 04, 2020 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the first book much more than this one. Was also very confused and had to research. Apparently the first book I read was the original print from the 20s and they changed the children's last names from Cordyce to Arden in the reprint in the 40s and all of the books after. Very confusing. The first book was just a much more fun adventure to go on whereas this one I found rather boring. ...more
Dec 08, 2017 rated it liked it
These books are ridiculous. I know they’re for children and quite old but lol. Also, this one was a race to see if I could read the entire thing while my roommate was at target. I did it. Such short, easy reads. Their adventures are somewhat ridiculous but I wouldn’t mind going to Surprise Island for a week or so.
Nov 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nostalgia
The writing can be very silly and simplistic, but it's very interesting to read at the end of the book, if you have the hardcover published in 1949 or 1950, Gertrude Chandler Warner's notes about her book.

The children are portrayed as having a ready interest in the natural world around them and it is not surprising that the book is actually seventy years ago.
Jul 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Classic kid's story. I love that the kids get the freedom to have adventures with minimal adult interference. What wonderful wish fulfillment. It even made me want to try seafood - something I'm never interested in. ...more
Stephanie ((Strazzybooks))
Read with an intermediate student. I used to love the Boxcar Children!
Feb 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-alouds
Read aloud to my four year old. Fun for everyone.
Jessica Howard
Listened to this one on audio with the kiddos today. I remember why I loved these so much as a kid — how delightful to get to live in a barn all summer without adult supervision! 🙂
Feb 02, 2020 added it
Of all the Boxcar Children book titles that could also be salad dressings, this is the second most so.
Dec 08, 2020 rated it liked it
Such a sweet story and great continuation. It's amazing how much independence is given to them to live on an island with minimal supervision, especially with a younger kid. ...more
Dec 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I liked that it was a mystery! - Annie, Age 6
Ditya Rathor
Dec 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book
Ilisie Matei
Aug 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It was OK. I liked really much the story and its one of my favourite books. 📚
Feb 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
This takes place during summer on their grandfather's island. They spend the summer living in a barn. There is fishing, gardening, hiking, swimming, a cave, a museum, a missing person. The mystery was secondary but still interesting. ...more
Apr 14, 2020 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
As an adult revisiting an old favorite, I still love the story of the characters fending for themselves on an island. However, I found the writing dated and less than enjoyable. It was very stilted.
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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

Other books in the series

The Boxcar Children (1 - 10 of 157 books)
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  • 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)
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“Right!” said Joe. “My middle name is Joseph, anyway.” 0 likes
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