The Boxcar Children

Was anyone else a big fan of these books growing up? They were really easy reads and the kids were basically mini detectives. Sometimes the mysteries they solved involved ghosts and other scary things (I read those only in the daytime) and sometimes they just involved petty theft. They were about 130 regular books and the over 20 special novels — those Boxcar Children got busy.

If you haven’t read the series, it’s about four orphaned kids — Henry, Jessie, Violet and Benny — who take shelter in a bakery but flee when they hear the baker’s wife saying she’s gonna send Benny to an orphanage. They find a random boxcar in the woods and live there for a little bit. They furnish it with stuff and they get a dog. It’s all nice until Violet gets sick and they need to get help, which will make them blow their cover. They bring Violet to the doctor but get nervous because they don’t want their grandfather (who they think is really mean) to find them. Turns out their grandpa is actually nice and rich! They’re reunited with him, he sets up their boxcar in his backyard so they can play in it and then they live happily ever after and solve mysteries.

Now that I think about the books, I don’t even know why I didn’t question the craziness of this series. Some of it would never work in real life. Yeah, I know it’s fiction and it’s written for kids, but none of this could ever fly in the real world:

1. Hiding four kids is pretty tough. They definitely would have been turned over to child services in the first chapter.

2. How did they find an old boxcar in the woods (that were perfectly safe btw)? If this happened in real life they would have encountered a child molester or some crazy psycho. Also their real-life dog would most likely have rabies or something.

3. Henry got a part-time job helping a doctor. Um, the doctor would have most definitely figured out that the kid was living in a boxcar with his siblings. This could have been an episode of 7th Heaven.

4. Their grandpa is nice and rich. There’s got to be a catch somewhere. And if the grandpa was really rich couldn’t he have worked a little harder to find the kids? Didn’t he have enough resources to hire some private detectives or something? I know this took place in like the 1920s, but there were policemen back then.

5. They encountered mysteries everywhere. How could these kids be mystery magnets?

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