Boxcar Children: Beginning

by Patricia MacLachlan

Other authorsTim Jessell (Illustrator)
Paperback, 2013



Local notes

PB Mac





INDPB (2013), Edition: Dgs, 144 pages


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.


Triple Crown Awards (Nominee — 2016)


Original language


Physical description

144 p.; 5.25 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member purplethings
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
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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.
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LibraryThing member bookwren
I've never read Gertrude Chandler Warner's Boxcar Children books, but when I saw this one by my favorite author, Patricia MacLachlan at our library, I picked it up. This is a lovingly told story with gently-handled accidental death. The four Alden children - Henry(~14), Jessie (~12), Violet (10),
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Benny (5) - are well-developed individuals. They have a loving home with parents who teach them responsibility and then trust them to do what's right. The Aldens take in the Clark family who have lost their home during the Depression and they become extended family. All the children are creative, as evidenced by the circus they put on.

I learned from Ms. MacLachlan's Afterword ("Setting the Scene") that Gertrude Warner lived in Putnam, Connecticut and was a teacher, where there is now a Boxcar Children Museum. MacLachlan even met some of Warner's former students. Putnam is in northeastern CT and I grew up in south central CT, so I feel a connection there. I may have to visit the Museum when next I go East. And now I'd like to read Warner's first book in the series.
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