As a kid, I remember reading quite a few of the books from the Boxcar Children series.  Since the 70th anniversary of the series is coming up, a prequel to the series has been written by Newbery Award-winning author Patricia MacLaclan.

The story follows the Alden family – Henry, Jessie, Violet and Benny through a harsh winter. Times are tough, many are without jobs but he Aldens consider themselves lucky.  When there is a car that gets stuck in the snow, the Aldens take in the family until they can get the car fixed and continue on their way.  The Aldren kids show Meg and William where they live, and take them to school with them as well.  They make the best of a bad situation and eventually the car gets fixed and the extended family continues on their way to their new home with family.

Things seem to be turning up but tragedy strikes.  The children would need to go live with the grandfather, whom they have never met.  Rather than do that they decide to take off.

While I don’t remember all the details of the BoxCar books I read as a kid, I do feel like the writing of this book would fit right in with what I remember of the others, even though it is a different author.

I definitely recommend this book for kids 7-10 as wel as those who may have grown up on The Boxcar Children series. (I was also surprised to find out there is a museum here in CT dedicated to the children! I’ll have to check it out at some point!)

I received a free e-copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in order to write this review.

To find out more about the box car series check out their website here:

About the Book

Before they were the Boxcar Children, Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny Alden lived with their parents at Fair Meadow Farm.

Although times are hard, the Aldens are happy–“the best family of all,” Mama likes to say. One day, a blizzard hits the countryside, and a car is stranded on the road near their farm. The family in the car needs shelter, and when the Aldens take them in, the strangers soon become friends. But things never stay the same at Fair Meadow Farm, and the spring and summer bring events that will forever change the lives of the Alden Children.

Newbery Award-winning author Patricia MacLaclan pays loving tribute to the classic novel by Gertrude Chandler Warner in this story of the Alden children’s origins and the challenges they faced before their boxcar adventures.

For kids ages 7-10.

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