Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.
A classic Book Rewritten for Early Readers
We had the opportunity to read The Boxcar Children Early Reader Set published by Albert Whitman & Company. We received the first four books of Gertrude Chandler Warner’s classic series, adapted for beginning readers—The Boxcar Children, Surprise Island, The Yellow House Mystery, and Mystery Ranch. In this article I share my honest opinion of our experience reading this set of 4 books.
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The Boxcar Children is a classic childhood book. It certainly was one of my favorite books. In fact, it was one of the first chapter books that I was able to read. I wanted my children to enjoy this wonderful book too.
As a child, it was fun to imagine being one of the children and living in a boxcar. In fact, the book has many examples of homesteading skills. Something we are eager to teach our children.
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The Time to Read® is an early reader program designed to guide children to literacy success regardless of age and grade level. The program has three basic levels corresponding to the stages of reading readiness, making book selection simple and assuring that when a child’s time to read arrives, the right book will be waiting.
The Boxcar Children Early Reader was an excellent starter set for my 8-year-old son who is an emerging reader. The set consists of the first four stories from the iconic Boxcar Children series. The series is geared toward ages 5-7, grades K-2 and provides a natural bridge from picture books to chapter books. My son is 8 years old and it was a perfect level for him.
The reading level was perfect for my son. As an English teacher, I was impressed with the appropriate level of phonics and sight words. The print was a great size for his reading level, the pictures were appropriate, and the amount of text on each page was do-able for my son. He didn’t feel overwhelmed by the amount of text on each page.
The Boxcar Children are Mysteries for Emerging REaders
Your children will enjoy the mystery element of these books. My son asked me several questions about the mystery and he enjoyed trying to solve the mystery before we found out the conclusion of the story. This was great because it motivated him to keep reading.
The Boxcar Children
The Boxcar Children is the most well-known classic of the series. Since the early reader version is simplified, I decided to read the original version to my children. There are many survival lessons and character lessons throughout the book. It is wonderful for all children, but especially homesteading children.
From foraging for food to finding shelter, to earning a living. Then there are the character lessons: perseverance, ingenuity, loyalty, gratitude in difficult circumstances, and good old-fashioned hard work. The children in this book are a wonderful example for your children.
When my son read the Time to Read version of The Boxcar Children, he enjoyed the happy ending. He also looked forward to reading about the children’s’ next adventure.
My son also enjoyed reading Surprise Island. It is fun to imagine these orphan children going fending for themselves in a life of poverty to an abundant life of luxury with their long-lost grandfather. The mystery of this book is a young man on the island. One of my son’s favorite part of this book was when the children start their own museum of things they found around the island. This would be a fun activity to do with your own children. Again there is another happy ending about the mystery man that brought a smile to my son’s face.
The Yellow House Mystery
By the time my son and I started reading The Yellow House Mystery, my son was telling his older brother’s all about the books. This caused all 3 older boys to read the books on their own. They all enjoyed the quick read since their reading level is higher than their younger brothers. They enjoyed discussing the mysteries and trying to solve them before they got to the end of the book.
The Yellow House Mystery also has a different mystery to solve about a missing man named Bill. The children search for clues and go on an adventure complete with camping to solve the mystery of what happened to Bill.
A new adventure awaits the Boxcar Children when they visit their ailing great aunt. Both my son and I enjoyed this book because of the farm animals on the ranch. They solve the mystery of a strange man, strange hut, and strange rocks. Of course, there is another happy ending for everyone.
Overall, my son and I really enjoyed reading The Boxcar Children Early Reader Set published by Albert Whitman & Company. These first four books of Gertrude Chandler Warner’s classic series, adapted for beginning readers—The Boxcar Children, Surprise Island, The Yellow House Mystery, and Mystery Ranch
Here are my top 5 favorite things about these books:
- were written at an appropriate reading level.
- held my son’s attention with the mystery.
- colorfully and appropriately illustrations.
- wholesome story and happy ending.
- an appropriate amount of text for emerging readers.
If you have an emerging reader, these books are an exciting way to build confidence in your early reader. Your child will feel accomplished to be able to read a book with an exciting storyline and mystery to solve. As your child increases in reading ability, he or she will be able to read the original version with more details.
If you are looking for more homeschool curriculum reviews, check out my review about the online curriculum called Schoolhouse Teachers. If you have a struggling reader, check out PRIDE Reading Program.
How about you? Have you read The Boxcar Children? I encourage you to build your early reader’s confidence with these Boxcar Children books. Check out what other homeschool families are saying about The Boxcar Children Early Reader Set.