Gertrude Chandler Warner

A teacher for 32 years, Gertrude Chandler Warner wrote and re-wrote her first book, The Boxcar Children, testing it out on her students until she had honed it into a story that was both easy to read and that children would adore. The Boxcar Children was finally published in 1942, was followed by 18 sequels, and has now (sigh) been turned into a successful franchise by Albert Whitman & Company.

Regardless of our feelings on book franchises, the Boxcar mysteries that were actually penned by Ms. Warner are pretty fabulous. The mysteries are fun, but the real appeal of the books comes from that fundamental kid fantasy: playing house. Much like Jean Craighead George’s My Side of the Mountain, Warner’s Boxcar mysteries read like a soothing list of housekeeping chores--except the house in question is more interesting than our own (a boxcar, obviously, in Warner’s first book, and a hollowed-out tree in George’s novel) and all of the work is (yay!) being done by someone else.

Franchises. What? Nineteen books just weren't enough?


Other Recommendations:
My Side of the Mountain, by Jean Craighead George
Posted by: Julia


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