Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Boxcar Children may mend my broken heart

On Friday, 50% of our tribe hit the slopes. Little Guy is still getting the hang of it and Mom is recovering with sore calves. On Saturday, Little Guy started going down hill, not skiing, but health wise. His symptoms are: slight fever, sore throat and total compliance. That's when I knew he is really not feeling well. He has such a sweet calm disposition. I took advantage of this and cuddled with him as much as possible.

This was a great time to introduce him to The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner. He was so captivated, he offered to read chapter three when my throat needed a break. I love listening to him read. This is my third time reading this book to my kids. I forget how much I love the qualities of the four children in the book. They are loving, diligent, cheerful, mischievous, and hard working. I know some people feel they are too good to be true, but Little Guy hasn't noticed. I hope he aspires to be like them, wink, wink.

The version I am reading is an old library hardcover that was withdrawn. I just noticed the back of the book, which was printed in 1952, a little blurb: 'About this book.'
"The Boxcar Children provides a type of reading material which is urgently needed-that is, easy reading material of intermediate-grade interest. 
The best means of arousing a desire for reading is an interesting book that can be read easily, because rapid progress, real enjoyment, and the consciousness of success are distinctly motivating and inspiring."
I agree with this. It was exactly what I've been looking for, to share with my six-year old. I am pleased with his reading progress, yet disappointed at his lack of desire to read. The language in these books was simple enough to keep his interest and read out loud to me.

The first 19 books in The Boxcar Children series were actually written by Gertrude Chandler Warner. The next ones are different authors. That means I have 19 opportunities to get him addicted to reading, with her sweet style of writing. With three more chapters left, I am sure we will be moving on to the next book in the morning. I am fortunate enough to own numerous books in the series. Statueman was a collector of Boxcar children since the 80's.

A few months ago, I started worrying about Little Guy. I was concerned that he didn't use his new found reading skills enough. He read things, but it didn't seem like he was drawn into it. A couple of weeks ago, he broke my heart a few times by saying these sad words:
"I hate to read."
I have been a mom on a mission now. Hating reading is not allowed in our home. I can't force him to love anything, but I can keep enticing him with great books. I had found a few easy chapter books that he liked, but he lost interest quickly. The Fat Cat series lasted for whole two days.

I was not discouraged, I have constanly been on the look out for things to catch his interest. His latest book he has been reading on his own is The Comic Book Bible by Robb Suggs. Each morning he can be found in the sun room reading his Bible. Now that really does my heart good. He even took his Bible skiing. He has taken to quizzing me on his newfound Bible knowledge, how fun is that?

But I believe, it's not enough. I will keep pressing on, gently of course. I will be reading to him and with him as I cultivate his desire for great books.

I hope that Little Guy and I will experience more adventures with Henry, Jessie, Violet, Benny and their dog Watch this week.

How about you, what books have hooked your early readers? I remember Paperboy really took off with the Great Brain books by John Fitzgerald. I'd love to hear what books your little ones fell in love with.

If you like to hang out with moms who love to read out loud, enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner
I welcome reader comments with open arms. I also understand if you aren't the commenting or hugging type of person, you can drop me an email at


Rachel said...

The Happy Hollisters
Little House series
Anything Beverly Cleary
Hank the Cowdog series (excellent audiobooks read by author -- check library!)

You make me want to run to the library to peruse the children's section again :)

Catherine said...

I loved the Little House books, too, and Nancy Drew mysteries, and Encyclopedia Brown! I loved those! Beverly Cleary, too. I was always walking around with my nose in a book and that hasn't changed much.

I hope your little guy is feeling better now.

Lizzie said...

Hey Terri, miss you tons.
Jenna was utterly enchanted with Henry and Mudge early on and The Lighthouse Family by the same author. Then, oddly enough, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and the The Spiderwick Chronicles. Bobbsey Twins were big for awhile and then The Lightning Thief series.
Hope you guys are having a wonderful time and that he feels better soon.

Lori Watson said...

It was The Boxcar Children for Jake too! For Larissa it was Henry & Mudge. Kevin liked The Great Brain series and Nathan hated reading until Percy Jackson. Isn't it funny how each child finds a certain series that hooks them and they're off? I love it. Bre started reading manga and went from there. You never know what will strike that reading spark!

Shell said...

I hadn't thought about Boxcar Children for my 6 y/o. Great suggestion!

My 6 y/o hates..... to WRITE. Oh, it breaks my heart!

Unknown said...

Your blog is awesome! Thanks for it! When I would visit my grandma every summer and winter we would read The Boxcar series. We read every one of them! I also LOVE the kids and the qualities they have.