Monday, August 6, 2012

The BOXCAR Children Beginning: The Aldens of Fair Meadow Farm by Patricia MacLachlan

By: Patricia MacLachlan
Published by: Albert Whitman & Company
Released on: August 1st, 2012
Ages: 7 & up
Source: book from publisher to review
5 stars: I Loved It!
Purchase from: Albert Whitman & Company | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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 - quoted from Goodreads

If you grew up a fan of the Boxcar Children series, than you must pick up this beautifully written prequel to the series. Author Patricia McLachlan does such an amazing job at honoring Gertrude Chandler Warner's original work. She carefully crafted together a story that pays respect to a series that have touched thousands of young children's lives. Her writing is flawless and engaging as she recreates the same characters, their unique personalities and voices, and takes readers by to much simpler times. Patricia re-introduces fans to their favorite childhood characters before we got to know them in their first adventure, and gives new readers to this series a wonderful story.

The Boxcar Children Beginning introduces readers to the Alden children prior to them being out on their own. Here we get to see them enjoy life on their peaceful family farm, interact with each other, and their loving parents. We get a glimpse into their upbringing, and what life consisted of on their working farm, and the kind of parents they had. What a fabulous family life they had. They worked hard together, play together and had fun together. Their parents taught them values and responsibility at a young age that definitely helps them later on in the series. It was great getting to see this glimpse back before they became four orphaned siblings. 

Patricia's story ends right where book 1 in the series begins. What a truly wonderful story this is. I would venture to guess that Gertrude herself would be honored by Patricia's book. Though it's been years since I've personally sat down to read this series, I felt like I never left Henry, Jessie, Violet and Benny's world. This is truly a must read for new and old fans of the Boxcar Children alike. Now I want to go pick up the rest of the series and sit down and read it with my son. 

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday is a weekly feature started by MG author Shannon Messenger and is a weekly post featuring an upcoming MG release, a MG Author Interview or a MG review. You can find out more about this series posts, and find links to author authors and bloggers who are taking part in this feature here. You can also my Must Have Middle Grade Reads feature on Mundie Moms

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