Journey on a Runaway Train

When I read that there was a BoxCar Children Re-Boot I had several thoughts:



Can’t anyone come up with something original?

I stand (well, sit) before you chagrined. The characters are the same except it’s now- as in the kids have cell phones and laptops. I’ve read nearly all of the previously published Boxcar children stories aloud to all five of my offspring. We still own the Boxcar Children Cookbook and consult it regularly. You could say we are fans of the series. We are purists in that I consider only the first 19 books to be originals.

They lost us completely after The Mystery of the Purple Pool (book 38). It just wasn’t the same in modern times. We liked the whole back in the day plot lines. The writing just wasn’t the same and the characters showed no development at all past a few key personality points from the original books.

So that’s the attitude I started with and was so pleased to encounter an actual mystery with characters I liked. Yes, this book could have been written with different characters and still would have been an entertaining read. The way the story develops, I was glad to see these kids again in the modern world. I got about halfway through my review copy and realized that we should be reading this aloud and started over that night reading to my 11yo. We’re in a “low tide” section of our school year and are reading on our own and out loud for much of every day. I was thrilled to squeeze this in and put off our next book a few days longer.

I don’t think that you can avoid discussing whether or not book reboots are useful or not. In this case, it works for me. The characters maintained their personalities and the setting was similar enough to the original books that only the technology made it different.

The kids are still on their own somewhat although now they are working with a secret society that apparently has almost unlimited means to aid the children in their quests to recover stolen artifacts. This is the first book of a new miniseries that will follow the children around the globe.

I think first through maybe fifth graders will enjoy it, older kids too if they are fans of the original books. Years ago we used a homeschool program called Five in A Row, and that is where I learned how to create a unit study. I think the old books and the new would be really fun to use that way for early to mid-elementary grades.

Here’s a link to the new improved Boxcar Children website.

Journey On a Runaway Train: The Boxcar Children Great Adventure 1

Created By: Gertrude Chandler Warner

Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company

Elementary/MG Fiction

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