"The Boxcar Children" by Gertrude Chandler Warner

May 22, 2023
This first book of the series introduces the orphaned siblings Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny Alden, who try to make a home for themselves in an abandoned boxcar.
The little boy was looking at the cakes, the big boy was looking at the loaves of bread, and the two girls were looking at the cookies.
She smiled politely at the woman, but the woman did not smile.
Now the baker’s wife did not like children. She did not like boys at all. So she came to the front of the bakery and listened, looking very cross.
“I’m glad she is gone,” remarked Benny, eating. “She doesn’t like us.”
They jumped over a brook, and then they came to the haystack.
“I’m glad it is hot,” said Henry, “for we must sleep on the ground. Let’s find some pine needles for beds.”
She ran over to the boxcar. There was no engine, and the track was old and rusty.
The stump of a big tree stood under the door of the boxcar and was just right for a step.
She carried the dog over to the children and sat down beside them, the dog on her lap.
“He had a big thorn in his foot,” answered Violet, “and Jessie took it out and put on the handkerchief. It hurt him, but he did not cry or growl.”
The children sat back and admired the dishes.
She ran to get the board they had carried from the dump and laid it carefully across the two pieces of wood. It made a fine shelf for the dishes.
Henry was coming through the woods, and he carried many funny-looking bundles in his arms. But he would not open his bundles or tell what he had been doing until it was time for dinner.
She took her scissors out of her workbag and cut the two ends even. But before she began to hem the pretty blue tablecloth, she helped Jessie wash and rinse the dishes and put them away.
“Now this spoon is a magic spoon,” said Henry. “Turn it around and use the handle, and it is a knife!”
“Maybe we could make a swimming pool,” he said. “We could build a dam out of logs.”
Henry was so eager to begin work that he ran all the way to town.
Jessie cut the tops off the vegetables and washed them in the brook.
“I’ll put them in after the meat has cooked awhile,” she said.
Soon the water began to boil, and the stew began to smell good.
“I do like the smell of onions.”
“I like the turnips best,” said Violet.
“I found a tin cup in the dump,” said Jessie. “We used a long stick for a handle and tied it to the cup with a piece of wire. It makes a fine ladle.”
We’ll build the dam here with logs and stones.
Benny hurried here and there, carrying baskets to the pickers and eating all the cherries he wanted. Everyone in the orchard liked Benny.
James Henry Alden was a very rich man. His big mills stood just between Greenfield and Silver City.
Off went the runners down the track.
Dr. Moore did not tell Henry that he had been up in the bleachers. He let Henry tell him about the races.

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