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

(The Boxcar Children #2)

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  8,636 ratings  ·  323 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 January 1st 1949)
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3.93  · 
Rating details
 ·  8,636 ratings  ·  323 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,
Kellyn Roth
Read so many of this series eons ago ... never got through most of 'em, though!
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
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
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 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
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.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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.
Feb 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-alouds
Read aloud to my four year old. Fun for everyone.
Stephanie ((Strazzybooks))
Read with an intermediate student. I used to love the Boxcar Children!
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.
May 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Gertrude Chandler Warners novel Surprise Island realistic fiction book is exciting. I liked the book because they went to an island and explored and had to live in a barn at the island. The main characters were Henry, Benny, Jessie, and violet. Henry is the oldest then Jessie, then violet, then Benny. They had to figure out why the handy man knew so much about the island. You would like it if you like mystery books.
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 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it it was amazing
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 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
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
Sep 03, 2012 rated it did not like it
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
Jul 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it liked it
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 rated it really liked it
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 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it really liked it
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 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
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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

Other books in the series

The Boxcar Children (1 - 10 of 149 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)
“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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