If there is a book series that has stood the taste of time is the Boxcar Children book series. Since 1924, the books are still selling on the bookshelves and the stories never get old. Boxcar Children has even been adapted into a movie that was released in 2014. The Movie is based on the original 1924 Box Children book with a few additional plot and character twists to appeal to the current Gen X and Gen Z.
If you were luck to have been a bookie back in the '90s, you must have come across or even read the Boxcar Children series books part of your school work.
About Boxcar Children Book Series.
Boxcar Children is a collection of Children's books originally produced and published by Gertrude Chandler Warner. She was an American first grade teacher at the time. The series currently contains over 155 titles and it keeps increasing every year.
The book is a tale of four orphaned kids namely: Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny. It was originally published by Rand Mc Nally in 1924 (as the Box-Car Children) and released by Albert Whitamn and Company. A short version of the book was released in 1942.
In the book, the kids build a home for themselves in an abandoned box car in the forest. They finally meet an ld man, who became their grandfather. He was a rich and kind man, although initially the kids thought he was cruel.
The kids decide to live with the grandfather, who moves their beloved car to his garden to encourage the kids to use it as a playhouse. The film adaptation of the Boxcar Children original book was released in 2014 and the sequel to the novel "Surprise Island" was released in 2018 as a movie.
Based on an online survey in 2007, the National Education Association included the original book as one of its Teachers Top 100 Children's Book.
The original novel was included in a 2012 report released by the School Library Journal in the most recent Top 100 Chapter Books (Children's Novels).
List of Boxcar Children's Books collection (1924 - 2020)
Even after her death 1979, the Boxcar Childrens books have always been released. If you were a toddler back in the 80s, 90s and a good part of the 2000s, your mum or dad must have read one of the Boxcar Childrens books as a bedtime story.
Here is the list of Boxcar Children books since 1924:
|The Yellow House Mystery|
|Blue Bay Mystery|
|The Woodshed Mystery|
|The Lighthouse Mystery|
|Mountain Top Mystery|
|Tree House Mystery|
|Mystery in the Sand|
|Mystery Behind the Wall|
|Bus Station Mystery|
|Benny Uncovers a Mystery|
The above 19 books were written by Gertrude Chandler Warner before she met her death in 1979. Other 150+ related books in the series that were done by other authors include:
|The Haunted Cabin Mystery|
|The Deserted Library Mystery|
|The Animal Shelter Mystery|
|The Old Motel Mystery|
|The Mystery of the Hidden Painting|
|The Amusement Park Mystery|
|The Mystery of the Mixed Up Zoo|
|The Camp Out Mystery|
|The Mystery Girl|
|The Mystery Cruise|
|The Disappearing Friend Mystery|
|The Mystery of the Singing Ghost|
|The Mystery in the Snow|
|The Pizza Mystery|
|The Mystery Horse|
|The Mystery at the Dog Show|
|The Castle Mystery|
|The Mystery of the Lost Village|
|The Mystery of the Purple Pool|
|The Ghost Ship Mystery|
|The Canoe Trip Mystery|
|The Mystery of the Hidden Beach|
|The Mystery of the Missing Cat|
|The Mystery on Stage|
|The Dinosaur Mystery|
|The Mystery of the Stolen Music|
|The Chocolate Sundae Mystery|
|The Mystery of the Hot Air Balloon|
|The Mystery Bookstore|
|The Mystery of the Stolen Boxcar|
|Mystery in the Cave|
|The Mystery on the Train|
|The Mystery of the Lost Mine|
|The Guide Dog Mystery|
|The Hurricane Mystery|
|The Mystery of the Secret Message|
|The Firehouse Mystery|
|The Mystery in San Francisco|
|The Mystery at the Alamo|
|The Outer Space Mystery|
|The Soccer Mystery|
|The Growling Bear Mystery|
|The Mystery of the Lake Monster|
|The Mystery at Peacock Hall|
|The Black Pearl Mystery|
|The Cereal Box Mystery|
|The Panther Mystery|
|The Mystery of the Stolen Sword|
|The Basketball Mystery|
|The Movie Star Mystery|
|The Mystery of the Pirate's Map|
|The Ghost Town Mystery|
|The Mystery in the Mall|
|The Gymnastics Mystery|
|The Poison Frog Mystery|
|The Mystery of the Empty Safe|
|The Great Bicycle Race Mystery|
|The Mystery of the Wild Ponies|
|The Mystery in the Computer Game|
|The Mystery at the Crooked House|
|The Hockey Mystery|
|The Mystery of the Midnight Dog|
|The Summer Camp Mystery|
|The Copycat Mystery|
|The Haunted Clock Tower Mystery|
|The Disappearing Staircase Mystery|
|The Mystery on Blizzard Mountain|
|The Mystery of the Spider's Clue|
|The Mystery of the Mummy's Curse|
|The Mystery of the Star Ruby|
|The Stuffed Bear Mystery|
|The Mystery at Skeleton Point|
|The Tattletale Mystery|
|The Comic Book Mystery|
|The Ice Cream Mystery|
|The Midnight Mystery|
|The Mystery in the Fortune Cookie|
|The Radio Mystery|
|The Mystery of the Runaway Ghost|
|The Finders Keepers Mystery|
|The Mystery of the Haunted Boxcar|
|The Clue in the Corn Maze|
|The Ghost of the Chattering Bones|
|The Sword of the Silver Knight|
|The Game Store Mystery|
|The Mystery of the Orphan Train|
|The Vanishing Passenger|
|The Giant Yo Yo Mystery|
|The Creature in Ogopogo Lake|
|The Rock and Roll Mystery|
|The Secret of the Mask|
|The Seattle Puzzle|
|The Ghost in the First Row|
|The Box that Watch Found|
|A Horse Named Dragon|
|The Great Detective Race|
|The Ghost at the Drive-In Movie|
|The Mystery of the Traveling Tomatoes|
|The Spy Game|
|The Dog-Gone Mystery|
|The Vampire Mystery|
|The Spy in the Bleachers|
|The Amazing Mystery Show|
|The Pumpkin Head Mystery|
|The Cupcake Caper|
|The Clue in the Recycling Bin|
|The Zombie Project|
|The Great Turkey Heist|
|The Garden Thief|
|The Boardwalk Mystery|
|Mystery of the Fallen Treasure|
|The Return of the Graveyard Ghost|
|The Mystery of the Stolen Snowboard|
|The Mystery of the Wild West Bandit|
|The Mystery of the Soccer Snitch|
|The Mystery of the Grinning Gargoyle|
|The Mystery of the Missing Pop Idol|
|The Mystery of the Stolen Dinosaur Bones|
|The Mystery at the Calgary Stampede|
|The Sleepy Hollow Mystery|
|The Legend of the Irish Castle|
|The Celebrity Cat Caper|
|Hidden in the Haunted School|
|The Election Day Dilemma|
|The Doughnut Whodunit|
|The Robot Ransom|
|Legend of the Howling Werewolf|
|Day of the Dead Mystery|
|The Hundred-Year Mystery|
|The Sea Turtle Mystery|
|Secret on the Thirteenth Floor|
|The Power Down Mystery|
|Mystery at Camp Survival|
|The Mystery of the Forgotten Family|
|The Skeleton Key Mystery|
|Science Fair Sabotage|
|The Clue in the Papyrus Scroll|
|The Detour of the Elephants|
|The Shackleton Sabotage|
|The Khipu and the Final Key|
|The Mystery in Washington, DC|
|The Mystery at Snowflake Inn|
|The Mystery at the Ballpark|
|The Pilgrim Village Mystery|
|The Mystery at the Fair|
|The Pet Shop Mystery|
|The Niagara Falls Mystery|
|The Mystery in the Old Attic|
|The Windy City Mystery|
|The Mystery of the Queen's Jewels|
|The Mystery of the Black Raven|
|The Mystery in New York|
|The Home Run Mystery|
|The Honeybee Mystery|
|The Mystery of the Screech Owl|
|The Mystery of the Tiger's Eye|
|The Candy Factory Mystery|
|The Mystery of Alligator Swamp|
|The Great Shark Mystery|
|The Black Widow Spider Mystery|
|The Great Spy Showdown|
|Trouble on the Wild West Express|
Now let us take a look at the Boxcar Children movie which was based on the original book.
Boxcar Children Movie (2014)
The Boxcar children movie is arguably one of the best animated films of the last decade. Shot in 2014 the movie attracted the attention of many kids back then. The storyline revolves around four orphaned children who live in an abandoned boxcar for the better part of their life. The children fear being sent to their grandfather who they have never met and keep the boxcar as their secret home. The captivating film was directed by Daniel Chuba and Mark A.Z Zippe. Hammerhead productions Inc. Produced the movie that runs approximately for one and half hours.
Background of the Boxcar Children
Boxcar Children Storyline
The baker tries to chase them but lest the children go away. Later on, they find an abandoned boxcar where they make it their new home and start a life filled freedom. The children begin looking for jobs and other things to do. Henry lands a job in a nearby town, Silver city and works for Dr.Moore.
He is involved in menial jobs as well as gardening for the doctor’s mother. The doctor knows the challenges the children face in their daily lives unknown to the children who know of it when Violet becomes very ill and they reach out the doctor for assistance. Their grandfather who lives nearby has been looking for them for some time now. He has been advertising in the papers and offering a reward for news to anyone with news about them.
Photo: Common Sense Media
The doctor is now convinced it’s time to on come clean about what he knows as well as reaching out to the grandfather. Henry Alden, their grandfather, a steel baron comes to see them at once where the children introduce the doctor as their friend. The children are surprised by the kindness the grandfather treats them with since they had been brought up knowing that their grandfather is a bad person as he did not approve their parents’ marriage. The grandfather does not want to interfere with the children’s’ happiness and transfers the boxcar to his backward.
Boxcar Children Characters
Main ProtagonistsThese protagonists named in the revised version of the sequel of the original novel. In the original version of 1924, the family name was Cordyce instead of Alden. They were:
- Henry James Alden,
- Violet Alden,
- Jessica Alden (aka Jessie)
- Benjamin Alden (aka. Benny)
- James Henry Alden
- Mrs McGregor
- John Joseph Alden and Alice (aka Joe)
- Aunt Jane and Auncle Andy
- John Carter
Henry was the oldest child of the Alden; Henry is depicted as a 14-year-old in all the 13 editions of the original 1924 edition of the Boxcar Children Book. He is shown to sooth his younger siblings. He is hard-working, reasonable, humble and overly protective.
Henry is a natural athlete; he even demonstrates an interest to fix things. Henry goes to school at The Lighthouse Mystery college.
Henry has a big blue car and he loves color green. In the book there is evidence that his grandfather is preparing him to take over the family business. Henry and Jessie speak fluent French. In addition, Henry was also an avid swimmer and learned how to sail while at the school.
In the later book series, Henry is de-aged to 14 again. These were the books written after the death of Gertrude Warner. In a question-and-answer show, it was revealed that Henry had to be de-aged so that he could appeal to the younger demographic, which were the primary target for the books.
In most of the sequels, she is 10 years old. She is Boxcar Children’s younger sister. She is a very sensitive child and knows how to paint and sew. She is also good with animals and is depicted as a sumptuous character. She is always very timid and likes to play the violin.
Violet’s favorite color is either violet or purple; she is always seen wearing these colors. She is the timidest of all girls, helping Jessie to care for Benny sometimes.
She is a lover of animals, shows love to everybody, and she is a fantastic photographer. She has light brown hair and purple eyes. The Seventh book reveals that she is a high school freshman. She got a white kitten called Sugar Cookie in the 16th book.
Violet wishes to be a nurse when she grows up. She is highly sensitive, very worrying, and vulnerable to sickness and cold.
Jessica Alden (aka Jessie)
Jessi is the old sister in the Boxcar Children book series. In the original 1924 book, Jessie is depicted as 12-year-old girl. She frequently acts mother to Benny, Violet, and sometimes even Henry.
She is often in charge of cooking. Jessie is described as a very clean and well-organized girl. She is sometimes called Jess or Jessie. She doesn’t fear anything, she loves blue and is very strong.
Jessie will always be seen carrying a notebook. Jess is featured with long dark brown hair. She reads maps well, as seen in many of the book series. She is seen to age throughout the series and is seen to be a high school senior in the 7th book. She was also de-aged in the later book releases. Her favorite color is blue, and she loves to cook and bake.
It is hinted that she has a crush for John Carter, who is a young employee of her grandfather. Jessie speaks fluent French and is a good swimmer, and trained as a lifeguard. In the book, it is indicated that she did not attend college after finishing her high school.
Benjamin Alden (aka. Benny)
In the book, ben is 6 years old and the youngest child. In the 1924, orginal book series, Ben is 5 years-old. He celebrates his 7th birthday on Surprise Island and proceeds to grow in age throughout the original book series.
He is seen to grow old in the sequel until she attains the age to work in a department store as described in the last original book “Benny Uncovers a Mystery”. Benny was a favorite of young readers with his enthusiastic childish qualities and comments. He’s an extremely exciting character.
James Henry Alden
The name is often confused for the character Henry James Alden. The arrangement of the names really matters here. He was Alden’s rich and kind grandfather. He would give them freedom and was seen to give them advice all the time.
He is the one who watch over the kids after the death of their parents.
Watch is Boxcar Children’s dog. He was a watchdog that defended theme in the boxcar. Originally, a rich lady owned Watch, but he escaped and was adopted by the Aldens. The lady was so charmed that she allowed the children to keep him.
Watch was a Wire Fox Terrier and the children noticed him when Henry went to work. Watch is an Airedale in the original 1924 book. Watch had a thorn on his paw, Jessie helped to remove. He became know as her do because of this. Watch sleeps in Jessies bedroom in all the later series.
Photo Coutesy: Behind The Voice Actors
In the original book released in 1924, Dr. Moore is referred to as McAllister. He is the man who gave Henry a job and tested Violet when she was diseased.
Other Boxcar Children Cast.
Nostalgia review: Looking back at the Boxcar Movie
Photo Courtesy: The Austin Chronicle
I remember when I was in grade four, our teacher gave us a dose of the Boxcar Children book and from that moment I fell in love with the book. Being one of my best books I think it took so long for it to be adopted by the film industry. The love that was displayed by children of pour generation could relate to the urgent need of the book to be played as a movie like it was done in 2014, thanks to the movie directors.
The four children brought laughter and happiness in our homes and I could watch the movie severally. The adaptation of the movie from the books is so real that I felt like it had been in 3D version where I was actively involved in the adventures of Henry, Violet, Benny and Jessie. The politeness and hard work shown by Henry and the other kids encouraged me in helping my mother in doing house chores.
The way the adults in the movie blended with the kids is also an amazing thing which made me like working with more mature persons. Sitting down for the one hour and twenty six minutes watching the movie is not a waste of time. The storyline was educative and enjoyable.
The way the children reasoned in having their independence and the fear they had towards the police to a point of traveling in a train system to avoid attention and being reported to the police matched well with the lives we lived back then. Generally I used to fear my father a lot because he could discipline me by canning. It’s amazing how Dan Chuba and Mark Zippe show young children how helping the others is important. Henry has been used in passing information of how kids should love each other and work hard when he gets a job and work hard for the future of him and his siblings. This is so far one of the best films of my childhood.
The Boxcar Movie is a gentle one that parents should let their children watch. The captivating story depicts how four orphaned children who wish to have their independence live in a boxcar. The movie tries to teach children the values of loyalty, resourcefulness, and love. Inspiration and hope can also be drawn from the story. I believe the movie is more deserves increased ratings and is a good on that should be adopted by the film industry as an educative movie to children.
Who is your favorite Boxcar Children Personality?
Photo Coutesy: boxcarchildren.com