Throwback Book Review: Boxcar Children Recap

We’ve completed our first series! Click here to go to the beginning of my Boxcar Children reviews if you missed them.

So, what do we think? The Boxcar Children were one of my favorite series growing up. They sparked my love of mysteries, I always learned something interesting, I have good memories of reading these books. Coming at the series from an adult perspective as well as a writer, they probably aren’t books I would choose to read again for myself. This is simply because I’m not the recommended audience, and there really isn’t much in them for an adult audience as some books have. However, I will be happy to read them to our son and pass them along as he gets old enough to read them himself. They’re nice and clean and contain good morals.

I was kind of surprised that I didn’t remember much about them as I was reading. Some of them that were my favorites, I usually remembered ‘whodunnit’ but generally it was like reading them for the first time again besides some random things I remembered. That’s always an issue with rereading books, some of them you can revisit over and over and some are ruined if you know the twists.

Overall, the storylines kind of frustrated me, probably for the same reasons they appealed to me growing up. Obviously, the kids regress in age after book 19 once the original author stops writing them, and then they never age again. I don’t have a big problem with that except for the obvious passing of time that is happening, such as the kids meeting their cousin, he gets married, they buy a house, adopt an orphan. Seasons also change, but they never age. They never seem to go to school either. School is hardly ever mentioned in the books at all, and they’re constantly traveling to places. In book 6 when they take a boat, they all have books and schoolwork to do. I wish they had kept up with that at the very least.

As an adult, the lack of supervision really bothers me. Their grandfather constantly takes them on trips and leaves them by themselves. I don’t know how many hotels and motels would be okay with a group of kids, the oldest 14 and the youngest 6, staying all alone. They’re supposedly wonder kids who are just so responsible and helpful and stuff, but give me a break. A few weeks living in a boxcar doesn’t translate to street smarts and stuff. Just off the top of my head, they are left alone to explore both San Francisco and Washington D.C. I’ve been to both places and even now I wouldn’t really want to navigate either by myself. End of that rant I guess.

I know these books were started in a different time, but they have no excuse for some of the things the kids do when they live in an era of computers and things. Like for example, they’re constantly getting jobs and working in places that kids would be a huge liability for. Their resumes would stretch pages long, even for Benny who is 6. I suppose them volunteering or being paid under the table takes care of most of it, but who really wants to hire a 6 year old?

Enough complaining I guess. One thing I do appreciate is the fact that the mysteries aren’t ever too hard or dangerous. They don’t tend to get kidnapped or run into people with guns or anything. They’re more realistic for kids of that age to solve, mostly just by snooping and being observant. I’m surprised they never actually made a ‘detective agency’ and hired themselves out, unless that was in one of the books I missed. But then, I guess they don’t really need money, and they never seem to need to look for a mystery.

Top Favorite Boxcar Children Books: The Animal Shelter Mystery, The Mystery Bookstore

Least Favorite Boxcar Children Book: The Black Pearl Mystery

Thanks for reading, and come back next week to find out what I’m reviewing! I will be focusing on a few books by an author I really enjoy, one of which was turned into a movie.

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