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Boxcar Children Beginning: The Aldens of Fair Meadow Farm By: Patricia MacLachlan

Saturday, October 13, 2012

 Before they were the Boxcar Children, Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny Alden lived with their parents at Fair Meadow Farm.
Although times are hard, the Aldens are happy--"the best family of all," Mama likes to say. One day, a blizzard hits the countryside, and a car is stranded on the road near their farm. The family in the car needs shelter, and when the Aldens take them in, the strangers soon become friends. But things never stay the same at Fair Meadow Farm, and the spring and summer bring events that will forever change the lives of the Alden Children.
Newbery Award-winning author Patricia MacLaclan pays loving tribute to the classic novel by Gertrude Chandler Warner in this story of the Alden children's origins and the challenges they faced before their boxcar adventures.

Goodreads Summary

What a coincidence!  Just recently, my kids and I found a well-read copy of Boxcar Children #2: Surprise Island.  They read it again.  My daughters are grown, but one said that she always wanted to know what Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny did before the first book.  Who were their friends? What were their parents like?  I always wondered why the Alden kids were so sure that their grandpa wouldn’t help them. 
Then two weeks later, this prequel came to our home.  Since she loved the series so much (especially the first book), my daughter still isn’t sure, after reading, whether Gertrude Chandler Warner would have agreed with MacLachlan’s picture of the Alden’s early lives.
Since I read the book for the first time, as a mom, I don’t have the attachment to the original that my kids do.  I think that MacLachlan captured the resourcefulness, the sharing, and fun of the original series.  This story presents how their personalities and talents started on Fair Meadow Farm: Jessie’s responsible planning, Benny’s love of new friends and dogs, Violet’s knack with thread and paint, and Henry’s love of adventure and leadership.

Five Stars

*Reviewed by Colleen*

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This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews.


  1. Jackie said...:

    I loved the Boxcar Children books when I was in elementary school. I used to ask for them every year for my birthday. I think it was the puzzles in the middle of the book that were especially appealing. It made the books even more interactive!