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The Boxcar Children - Fully Illustrated Edition Review by Margaret Chind

Gertrude Chandler Warner, Anne Yvonne Gilbert & Gretchen Ellen Powers
Albert Whitman & Company
1-800-255-7675, 1-847-232-2800
250 South Northwest Highway, Suite 320
Park Ridge, Illinois 60068

Memories from my childhood are still strong where I remember reading through books in The Boxcar Children® Mysteries. I loved books in a series and this was one that I read over multiple times. Currently, my daughter (age 8.5) is passionately reading and rereading through The Boxcar Children Mysteries. She has read the first twelve we own and is reading the rest faster than I can acquire them. Part of the skills I am having my oldest work on include reading aloud. The new version of The Boxcar Children: Fully Illustrated Edition is the perfect opportunity for her to practice her reading aloud skills as well as to introduce the story to her not yet reading younger siblings (6.5, 3.5, and 10 months) whom will soon find this on their literature lists. Some afternoons, the book has also found its way to the couch as we all sit and snuggle-read for the evening, stopping to imagine and laugh together. When this book arrived, we found it to be an excellent surprise and everyone was excited to begin this mysterious adventure!

In my youth, I remember roughly twenty stories. While Gertrude Chandler Warner wrote the first nineteen stories, there are more than 140 short novels in The Boxcar Children Mysteries series as well as a handful of spinoff series including The Boxcar Children Specials, The Adventures of Benny & Watch (early readers), and more recently The Boxcar Children Prequel, The Boxcar Children Graphic Novels, and The Boxcar Children Great Adventure. In our home, we have the movie, the eBooks, the paperback original novels, the hardcover prequel by Patricia MacLachlan, a few early readers and now the jacketed hardcover large size read aloud edition in the form of The Boxcar Children: Fully Illustrated Edition. It resides joyfully on our treasury and read aloud edition book shelf with other vintage and classic tales that inspire imagination and family memories for childhood.

This book, The Boxcar Children: Fully Illustrated Edition is oversized at 8.875” x 10” and approximately 168 pages of memory making joy for any family. Since the original publication in 1942, The Boxcar Children is a story that has touched many hearts and homes for multiple generations of families. Coming in on the 75th anniversary of this timeless novel, this (released November 2017) is a beautiful tribute to the story, the author, and a great volume to be shared again and again. This chapter book, appropriate for individual readers from the 7-10 age group or approximately grades 1st-5th is beautiful in this read aloud fully illustrated edition format.

In our family, we are reading it aloud, and reading it silently. The repetitive two-inch floral border around the large print text on each page is attractive in muted tones of sepia, greens, and vintage barn reds. Every few pages there is an inset full-page illustration that makes the perfect opportunity to stop and discuss the story. Occasionally, the illustration takes up a full two-page spread. The illustrations created by Anne Yvonne Gilbert and Gretchen Ellen Powers help create the best enhancement appropriate for this classic adventure. In the front, facing the title page there is a listing of book titles from The Boxcar Children all the way to The Robot Ransom. Thirteen chapters fill the main of the book with the lovely imagery and the book finishes up with A Story with Many Beginnings: Gertrude Chandler Warner and the Making of the Boxcar Children including real life photos and details of varied interest to bring the story to life off the page.

This book is excellent if you are a collector wanting to remember your youth. This book is excellent if you have a snuggle-school homeschool student learning to read chapter books. The book is excellent if you are reading The Boxcar Children for literature. This book is excellent if you are starting a full-on unit study based on the adventure of four precocious children and their fears and joys. I never knew all these details included about the person, the author, Gertrude Chandler Warner before and it adds a fascinating detail and introduction to my children that they too could do something to change many lives one day. No matter your method of teaching and learning, this book is an excellent addition to your bookshelf.

-Product review by Margaret Chind, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, March, 2018