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The Boxcar Children

(The Boxcar Children #1)

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  114,474 ratings  ·  2,990 reviews
The Aldens begin their adventure by making a home in a boxcar. Their goal is to stay together, and in the process they find a grandfather.
Paperback, 160 pages
Published January 1st 1989 by Albert Whitman Company (first published 1942)
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Jessica I think first to third grade readers, but it depend on the reading level of the reader. I started reading this book series when I was seven or eight,…moreI think first to third grade readers, but it depend on the reading level of the reader. I started reading this book series when I was seven or eight, and it was not too advanced for me.(less)

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Average rating 4.11  · 
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 ·  114,474 ratings  ·  2,990 reviews

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Jun 07, 2010 rated it liked it
I read this book as a child and oh, did I ever cherish it. I'm a detail-oriented person, and this book speaks to the super organized control freak in me. Warner weaves so many details into the lives of the Boxcar children that, as a young'un, I found myself mentally picturing their home in exquisite detail. Over a decade since I last read it, I still remember the milk kept cool by the waterfall, or the kids carrying the cherries back to the boxcar between them. These details are the strength of ...more
Mar 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
When I was young, around the age of 7 I think, my mother was hospitalized for several months. I went to stay with my aunt and uncle. I missed my parents dreadfully. One warm afternoon while wandering around around on their property, I found a box of old books in a barn of sorts. I picked up The Boxcar Children and begain to read. My loneliness disappeared, and my life changed forever. The story pulled me in and I couldn't put it down. I felt as if I was a part of their adventures and the boxcar. ...more
Feb 15, 2017 rated it liked it
I never came across this book as a child - presumably it did not cross the Atlantic to the UK where I grew up on a diet of the Secret Seven and the Famous Five. So I thought I would check it out now as it sits at the top of many popularity lists.
Having read all the reviews I think many people must be giving it five stars just for nostalgia value because to an adult outsider like me it certainly does not get five stars for content! However it is a nice, child friendly story with a degree of
I absolutely LOVE this book and the entire BOXCAR CHILDREN series!!! Seeing this on a list of the Top 100 Children's Books, I simply had to add it to my Goodreads shelves. It was the book that pulled me in - hook, line, and sinker - as a passionate reader and supporter of public libraries. And praise be, many of my grandchildren are now discovering the magical joy of reading and have contemporary copies of this wonderful series, too.

For more titles on the Top 100 Children's Books list:
Jul 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Never having read any of The Boxcar Children series as a kid, a friend recently gave me a copy of an ebook comprising the first 12 volumes to see what I missed out on. As a boy, I had been a fan of Enid Blyton's books, which were largely set in Britain, so I was curious to see how something similar from the US would read. I had also read that The Boxcar Children series is still very popular among kids despite having started in the 1940s.

As the book was first published 70 years ago, I was
Oct 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing

I read this in 1993 when I was in 3rd grade and just loved it.
I never thought of all the gender stereotypes because I knew that it was an old book and you often see that in old books.
Come on, there is a "horse and cart" coming down the road, the boys are wearing short pants and stockings, and the girls have on kerchiefs over their heads.
Clearly this is not a modern book and we don't need to expect it to be modern.
Kids reading it should not be changed or affected by the gender stereotypes
Mar 23, 2008 rated it it was ok
If I had just given this a rating instead of feeling the need to re-read it, I would have clicked five stars and moved on with my life. I remember REALLY liking these books when I was a kid. And I like to think of myself as fundamentally the same person. Turns out, The Boxcar Children series is terrible! The only reason I gave it two stars was out of respect for the sliver of memory I have left of enjoying it. The writing is uninspired, the situations are improbable, and the stories aren't even ...more
Nov 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, prologue
My love for reading was formed during my early years and I can clearly remember the books that brought it about. The picture books were all a blur of toddling first steps, a means to get to the main eventchapter books. I was never the child you had to force to check out the big kids books, I was the one that had to be reminded of the checkout limit. To be submerged in an ocean of bound together written words was and still is divine!!!

This book deserves a nod for creating two reading interests
Jan 18, 2020 rated it liked it
Picked this one up on the serial app mostly for the nostalgia factor but also hit a PopSugar Challenge prompt of reading a book in a series with over 20 books. Who knew?

Four siblings whose parents pass away leaving them to fend for themselves and run away from their town before their grandfather can find them. They find a old boxcar that they quickly inhabit and live in. They have adventures, adopt an Airedale, Watch, and earn a small living helping out the local Doctor. All is happy and a tad
I have always heard such good things about this children's series...but never took the time to read any of the books. This year I decided to make a concentrated effort to revisit favorite books/series that I love and to finally read books I've always wanted to read. This series made the list. I'm so glad I took the time finally to enjoy this sweet story! I enjoyed it enough to read more!

The Boxcar Children series was originally started in the 1920's. Gertrude Chandler Warner was a first grade
Feb 01, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: babies
Recommended to Stacy by: Mom
I wanted to read this book because my mom said it was one of her favorites from her childhood. She said she identified with the children who had to take care of themselves. I don't think that's a compliment to my grandparents.

Anyway, reading this makes me realize how much children's literature has changed. The plot is like Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events - orphan siblings using their own resources to help themselves. But the tone is so sugary sweet it gives me a toothache. The
Dec 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Bonus review (not following the rules, but very heartfelt): I re-read this book out of sheer nostalgia, after typing up my review of the very unfortunate graphic novel adaptation. Though I probably read it a dozen times as a child, I hadn't looked at it since about fourth grade. I was impressed, when I read the graphic novel, how much I remembered from the original... Benny's pink cup, the swimming pool, the wonderful domesticity of everything, to the point of spending scarce money on salt and ...more
Feb 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children
I happened to stumble across this and I was addicted to these when I was younger so I thought a re-read was in order. It was a little different than I remember but just as charming. I can see why I wanted to live in a boxcar when I was little. However, there is some weird gender things and other stuff that I never would have noticed as a child but seems glaringly obvious and weird as an adult. Overall reading it again was a heck of a lot of fun.
Jul 28, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: jf, logistics
hahaha wow this is such a weird story! But also just the kind of thing I like. I mean who wouldn't want to set up a little house in an old boxcar in the woods and eat delicious food and play in the creek.
In closing, I have two words: CHERRY. DUMPLINGS.
Nadin Adel
A novel about orphan siblings whom ran away from their grandfather that they never saw and knew he would treat them badly, as he didn't like their late mother. The story ending is wise as it turns out into a great conclusion.

To sum up, sometimes the things we are most frightened of are the things we should, actually, embrace with all our senses. Finally, never close your ears of what you thought was the mere truth, everything needs consistent testing and evaluation by both our mind and heart.
This is the book that made me a reader. I know many people don't have any way of knowing this, so I'm so grateful that I know. I still remember the day I walked into my 5th grade classroom in 2008, and there was a little bookshelf in the corner with a green beanbag. It was my first time in an American classroom, and I had never read an English book before. My homeroom teacher told us that if we read anything there, she'd give us a sticker! So I went, sat on the beanbag, and looked at the books. ...more
Book of Secrets°ღ
Re-read! THE BOXCAR CHILDREN is one of my top five favorite books from childhood. I loved everything about it. That cozy home & life they made in the boxcar was so intriguing. I didn't realize until I was an adult that it was part of a mystery series, now with 150+ books. I have some catching up to do...♥
Kris Irvin
Jun 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I read The Boxcar Children as a child. I think I was 7 or 8 when I started reading them. It was the first series I ever collected and I loved these books.

I wanted to introduce them to my 5 year old. He's mildly autistic and has a very short attention span, but surprisingly, he sits still and listens to the story here. He loves Benny and Watch, and though he may not understand all of what is happening, I think he is getting the gist of it all. It's been a great experience to read these and
Apr 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I loved these books as a child. I just re-read this one again, now as an adult. In reading many of the comments made here, I realize that most of you may not know this book was published in 1942, right after the Great Depression. This is a book about children who start off with nothing, but managed to survive and even thrive on their own resourcefulness. This was probably a very powerful book in 1942 and it is still relevant, perhaps even more so, today.

I love that these children are
Aug 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I read all of these books as a child and I loved them. great books for kids but beware it might want to make your kids live in a boxcar... I know it made me want to and my mother just laughed at me when I told her so... 😑
Jess Owens
Jun 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
I havent read this series in a long time. I was going to say how long, but Im not trying to give away my age.

These have to be the worlds most well behaved and unrealistic children of all time but I love them. It was fun to read again as an adult.
Sep 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Ahh, this just stirs up happy childhood memories. I loved this book and series so much. It is one of those series that our family lends out all the time,
steph s
A nice nostalgia read courtesy of Worldreader Mobile and Open Road Media. I was so glad to find that the ebook has the gorgeous illustrations by L. Kate Deal, which make living in a boxcar and eating stew made of castoff runt vegetables just seem even that much more idyllic:

The Alden siblings divide loaves of bread.

Dumpster diving! Benny finds a pink cup.

Jessie stirs stew made from tiny vegetables.

Although not without creepy Pleasantville moments ("'Tomorrow will be Sunday, and I can stay at
Beloved by children everywhere!! Now beloved by this adult!!

This is the first of a series about 4 orphans, the Aldens, who housed themselves in an abandoned boxcar. They actually ran away from their rich grandfather, whom they had never met, because they had heard he was a very mean man. The oldest Henry, does odd jobs for a local doctor, making enough money to buy butter and milk. They resourcefully build a fireplace for cooking. The oldest girl, Jessie, cooks wonderful meals for them. They
May 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I believe it was my second grade teacher who read this to our class. All I have is fond memories of childhood escapism, kids being able to forge their own way in the world without depending on adults.
Nov 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: re-read, owned-books
Read for the third time and this time with the audiobook ( for improving my English. I intend to re-read many books until December 2018, because now we have here in Brazil.
Aug 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Loved these books when I was a child:)
Oct 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Genre: fiction, chapter book
Topic: runaways, life in a boxcar,
Theme: independence, trusting adults, becoming self-sufficient,
Illustrations: There are very few illustrations in this book. The few there are depict scenes from the story.
Use: read aloud, guided reading, independent reading
Reading level: Fluent
Literary Elements: vivid descriptions


Henry, Jessie, Violet and Benny, four orphaned brothers and sisters, suddenly appear in a small town. No one knows who these young wanderers are
Mar 03, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: juvenile
I never read these as a child and don't think I had much interest in them until searching for more books for my son to read. He's 7, in 2nd grade, but reads on a 5th grade reading level. I'm always trying to find books he can read that are on his level where the content isn't too old for him. This was one of the books I picked off the library shelf in hopes that it would meet that criteria. I thought it was a nice story and look forward to reading a few more of the boxcar books to see how they ...more
What a sweet re-visit to childhood! A story of siblings who are unrealistically kind to each other, sharing, resourceful, and a little too picture perfect in all their friends and family, but a fun children's adventure nonetheless. Who didn't want to have their own little boxcar home as a child?
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Help! I can not come up with a series title to mystery/horror from my childhood 1 6 Oct 15, 2019 11:40AM  
The Worst Bestsel...: Episode 77 - Boxcar Children 3 21 Jul 19, 2017 03:59PM  
cant remember book name ! 1 10 May 13, 2017 04:56PM  
101 Books to Read...: Boxcar Children 5 18 Jul 15, 2016 12:29AM  

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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

Other books in the series

The Boxcar Children (1 - 10 of 153 books)
  • Surprise Island (The Boxcar Children, #2)
  • 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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