Book Review The Boxcar Children

Discussion in 'Survival Reading Room' started by DKR, Sep 22, 2017.

  1. DKR

    DKR Raconteur of the first stripe

    Background on the author etc - The Boxcar Children - Wikipedia


    Described by the publisher as-

    "In this totally satisfying book, the four Alden children—Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny—have become orphans and run away rather than be taken to their grandfather, who they do not know but fear. With only a few dollars in Henry’s pocket, the children locate an abandoned railroad boxcar and furnish it with pine branches and plates and cups from a nearby dump.

    Henry locates work that provides food and money, and they transform their surroundings into a kind a paradise, complete with a swimming hole for hot summer days. A spot behind a waterfall serves to keep butter and milk cold. In short, every small object the resourceful children find is made useful. "

    In the end, their grandfather turns out to be kindly and takes them in, but he transfers the boxcar to his property so they can have more adventures."

    Rated for young children (1st grade and up) , just the thing to read to them at night... For beginning readers, it uses simple English and the sentence structure in uncomplicated - an easy read. The author wrote this with an eye to recent immigrants with limited English language skills. A fast-paced plot carries you along.

    Critics will grouse & protest about children living unsupervised.

    But this detail has never bothered children in this book series.
    In fact, it taps into a frequent childhood fear—what if children had to live without adults?

    This is a story - originally written in 1924, about a time when children were often on their own. I see this book series as a good (and un-scary) way to talk with your children about things we should talk to children about - as important life choices. For example :

    What do you really need to live?

    How you must work to support yourself and others (family).

    Recycle, upcycle and re-purpose - the Alden clan become experts at it!

    Teach your child that, with knowledge, you need not fear.

    Childhood can be scary, the adults in their lives need to work hard to reduce those fears. One good way to do that is via story telling and reading books together.

    These books can be had on line (and in Kindle format IIRC) so expense should not be an excuse to miss the time spent reading to the kiddos....
  2. oldbee1966

    oldbee1966 Monkey++

    Wow, brings back old, old memories! Great book every kid should read it, pre-snowflakes especially!
    Sgt Nambu likes this.
  3. Asia-Off-Grid

    Asia-Off-Grid RIP 11-8-2018

    In the Third World countries I have resided in, I have learned of children not only living on their own, but, also working long hour days in order to earn just a pittance of what adults may earn - which still isn't a hell of a lot. Unlike spoiled western children, who have too many phones, tablets, cars, etc., given to them on a daily basis, these children are living more like those from the early 1900's.

    Today's western children couldn't hack doing similarly. Yes, I include my own offspring in my words, although two of them are well past grown at this point. I would give odds on my youngest (DOB 2011) turning out to be much tougher, due to growing up in the Philippines, rather than in the US.

    My father was born in 1923. He was the single toughest guy I ever knew in my life - only having a 4th grade education.
    Dont likes this.
  4. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    I have never read this book but will be looking it up on Amazon. It sounds like great tale.
  5. Itchba

    Itchba Monkey+

    Thanks! I read this as a kid and have been trying to find it again for years! My grandson needs this
  6. Dont

    Dont Just another old gray Jarhead Monkey

    Here is a digital version of the series: Internet Archive Search: The Boxcar Children

    EDIT: Some of the books are locked. Hover the cursor over the book and a pop up will indicate if "Print" is disabled. Book #1 is public Domain and down loadable.
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2017
    chelloveck likes this.
  7. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    I have been reading the Boxcar children stories. These children use garden scraps, scavenge for what they need. I love the optimistic attitude of the children, never a whine but instead they have a can-do attitude. Really am enjoying the story.
  8. DKR

    DKR Raconteur of the first stripe

    Written in 1924 mostly for recent immigrants. In 1924:

    NO FedGov/State handouts, food stamps, section 8, free medical or other 'safety net' BS. You worked or you starved. At least the tax bite wasn't fatal....

    In 1924, the average income that year, $2,196.
    You could buy a new car for $265 and even a new house was available for $7,720 and a gallon of gas cost a mere 11 cents. Still - people worked - on the whole - 12 hours a day and many, 6 days a week.

    Believe it or not, a loaf of bread was sold for only 9 cents and a gallon of milk for 54 cents. In a more sophisticated area, gold was selling for $20.67 an ounce while silver was going for $1.09 an ounce. Investors might be interested in the DOW Jones average which was listed at 100. The life expectancy is normally listed at 54.1 years.

    I used to talk with my Grandfather about this. He was making $150/month, 6 x 12 hours days, and half-day Sunday so he could take the family to church. ~78 hour week or
    nearly $0.50/hour and he considered that very good pay. Of course, he also said 1933 a grown man could not carry $5 worth of groceries.
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2017
    Motomom34 likes this.
  9. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    If those figures above are correct then the good Doctor in the book was paying the boy really well. The boy was making $1.00 a day.
  10. DKR

    DKR Raconteur of the first stripe

    $2100/a year would be ~$1/hr -- if you only worked a 40 hour week.

    In 1933 things were a lot harder..
  11. Zimmy

    Zimmy Wait, I'm not ready!


    This sounds like a good prepper primer and also example of thinking outside the box for the midgets in my tribe.

    I’m always trying to manipulate the inner workings of these girls with science, math, and improvisation.

    Granny Z covers the biology, art, and critter stuff.
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