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The Boxcar Children Beginning: The Aldens of…
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The Boxcar Children Beginning: The Aldens of Fair Meadow Farm (edition 2012)

by Patricia MacLachlan, Tim Jessell (Illustrator)

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505233,859 (3.33)None
Member:brangwinn
Title:The Boxcar Children Beginning: The Aldens of Fair Meadow Farm
Authors:Patricia MacLachlan
Other authors:Tim Jessell (Illustrator)
Info:Albert Whitman & Company (2012), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 144 pages
Collections:PSC Review copies
Rating:****
Tags:None

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

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A prequel to the beloved Boxcar Children series written by Patricia MacLachlan. The Boxcar books were one of the first series of chapter books I started reading in elementary school so I was excited to see this book! It tells the story of the Alden family before they lost their parents and were on the run from their grandfather. Economically, times are hard, but the Alden's are getting by and take in the Clark family who have lost their home because of tough times. The children help each other out and use their imaginations to make the best of hard times. Maclachlan adds snapshots of characteristics that each of the children show later in the book series, like Henry watching out for the rest, Jessie being the organizer, Violet being the fixer, and Benny being the comic who loves dogs. I think fans of the Boxcar series, new and old will enjoy this story. ( )
  purplethings | Feb 15, 2013 |
Big Kid Reaction: As surprising as it may sound, I have never read any of Warner's Boxcar Children books. Even without knowing those stories, I found MacLachlan's prequel to be enjoyable. Even knowing the sad "ending" to come, I would characterize it as a comfort read ... one I would go back to again.

Pros: This is a timeless story of simpler times and harder living. Whether you've met the Alden children in other books or are just being introduced, you'll find this an enjoyable, fast read.

Cons: None, really. Parents with children who are sensitive to loss or death may want to read this first or prepare their child as the story gets further along.

To read our full review, go to The Reading Tub®.
  TheReadingTub | Jan 10, 2013 |
told in the same gentle way as the original books. As a child I loved this series, and this book helps readers understand how the kids began living alone in a boxcar. ( )
  brangwinn | Dec 17, 2012 |
Reason for Reading: I am reading and collecting the first 19 original books by Gertrude Chandler Warner. I usually don't read modern prequels or continuations such as this (I didn't go anywhere near the Anne of Green Gables prequel!) but MacLachlan is a widely respected, award winning author whom I've read before so after a little consideration I thought I would give this a go.

MacLachlan is a good writer who especially does the historical very well. The year is never given, but going from the first BC book, this must be set in the early 40s. These are "hard times" and the Aldens live a simple life and the book tells the daily life of a simple family. There is slight drama to the plot but mostly it is a series of events that lead up to what the reader knows will be coming, the death of their parents and the turning of the children into orphans. This is all dealt with very gently and "not a big deal". No one should come into this book not having read their share of Boxcar Children Mysteries; this story is not to make one sad as one already knows the grand future of these children. MacLachlan has managed to keep Warner's simple style of writing while maintaining a quality work something she is well known for in her original work.

Overall, I didn't really find this story adding anything that needed to be told. It is a simple book, not the beginning of a new series and does not add to the Alden Family canon. I'm sure it will sell well initially, but has nothing to sustain its longevity. A slow, gentle story, without much happening, no mystery and simply a preface to the opening chapter of the original Boxcar Children written in 1942. ( )
  ElizaJane | Aug 15, 2012 |
The Boxcar Children have ushered young readers into chapter books for decades. Now, in the hands of Patricia MacLachlan (Sarah, Plain and Tall), we get a glimpse of what life was like for the Alden family before the death of their parents. They live a loving, simple farm life with close-knit relationships and glimmers of the children they will become as the series unfolds. Into their lives comes a homeless family whose car breaks down in front of the farm, a homemade circus, and other delights until one day, the events that send the Boxcar Children to the baker's shop begin to unfold. The text is simply told, with vocabulary within the reach of most second- and third-graders. While the parents' death -- a shadow over the entire series -- is a plot element, it is gentle and supportive, and although the final pages unfold quickly and may confound adults a bit, children will see it as a crystalline explanation for why the series begins as it does. Recommended. (124) ( )
  activelearning | May 19, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0807566160, Hardcover)

Before they were the Boxcar Children, Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny Alden lived with their parents at Fair Meadow Farm. Although times are hard, they're 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 MacLachlan 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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:34:50 -0400)

In the year before they become the orphans known as the Boxcar children, Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny Alden live with their parents at Fair Meadow Farm, where, although times are hard, they take in a family who has been stranded in their car during a blizzard.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

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