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THE BOXCAR CHILDREN BEGINNING; The Aldens of Fair Meadow Farm

Author: Patricia MacLachlan

Illustrator: Robert Dunn

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Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company,

Material: hard cover

Summary: Times are hard for the Aldens of Fair Meadow Farm, and winter is making it more so. The Clarks, who just lost their their home, now lost their car in a blizzard. The Aldens take in the family, and soon, Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny not only have helpers with chores, they have new friends, too. Winter turned to spring, then summer ... and then tragedy struck. Ben and Kate Alden were killed in a car accident. What happens next is up to the four orphaned children. This is a prequel for Gertrude Chandler Warner's Boxcar Children series.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, anytime reading, read aloud book, independent reading

Recommended Age: read together: 8 and Up; read yourself: 9 and Up

Interest Level: 8 and up

Reading Level: 3.1

Young Reader Reaction: Review pending.

Adult Reader 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.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least.

If You Liked This Book, Try: A THIEF IN THE THEATER: A KIT MYSTERY (American Girl Mysteries)   WHEN THE WHISTLE BLOWS   AN ORPHAN'S PROMISE; A CHRISTMAS STORY

Educational Themes: This is a book where young readers (with guidance) can practice thinking about what's next. Use the book as a baseline for further reading about the Great Depression and rural life.

Notes: The publisher donated a copy of this book knowing that we would consider it for review and provide an independent, unbiased profile. This book will be given to a nonprofit to help readers in need.

Literary Categories: Fiction - family, adventure, easy reader series, death and loss, adoption

Date(s) Reviewed: January 2013

Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews and reader feedback at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.




                 

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