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.
It’s so exciting to watch kids transition from picture books to chapter books. My eight-year-old daughter has really been working hard on her reading, and is beginning to try longer books. Many chapter books are still too hard, so we were excited to review the The Boxcar Children Early Reader Set.
These books are based on the series by Gertrude Chandler Warner, but are written with emergent readers in mind. They were published by Albert Whitman & Company.
What Are These Books?
When I was growing up, I was very anti any condensed versions of books. I thought if you were going to read something, you should just read the actual, whole thing.
Then I grew up.
And as I pursued my teaching certificate and took classes in special education and reading, I realized that adapted books serve a very important purpose. They make good stories accessible to even more readers.
And good books in the hands of readers is a great thing.
For adapted books, these do a wonderful job of sticking to the original story line. We’ve read aloud the original Boxcar Children, and listened to some of them on audio books, so we were already very familiar with the first couple of books.
So, we were all pleased to see how closely these kept. They really took the story and just made it more accessible for emergent readers. They simplified them a lot, and cut some of the side plots. But, it doesn’t go off in some wild direction or anything. It’s like they took the essence of each book and boiled off all the other stuff. The spirit of them is definitely still the same.
After quickly reading through them myself, I gave them to my eight-year-old to read. She was thrilled and got started right away!
What Makes These Books Different?
The books in this set are geared for emergent readers. The text is larger on the page than in most books. There are also fewer words on each page. You’ll find more pictures, which help provide important context clues for those newer readers. The books in this series are at a Level 2 reader, which is for kids in the K-2 age range. I have to say that my daughter could not have read these on her own even six months ago, so don’t get discouraged if your child is outside of (or tail end of) the recommended age. Learning to read takes time for some kids, and that’s okay!
These books feature an illustration style similar to the Boxcar Children movie that came out a couple of years ago. We haven’t seen it yet, but the pictures are definitely cute. They have lots of detail, which my daughter appreciated.
What Books Are Included in the Set?
The Boxcar Children Early Reader Set came with four books:
- The Boxcar Children
- Surprise Island
- The Yellow House Mystery
- Mystery Ranch
If you are familiar with the Boxcar Children books, these are the first four books in the original series.
What Did My Daughter Think?
My daughter had recently tried to read our tattered copy of The Boxcar Children. And, it was still too hard for her. She struggled with too many of the words, which really lowers comprehension. It wasn’t fun for her to read.
So we’d put them up to try again in the future.
When I handed her these books, she was a little hesitant. Until she opened them up. She got the biggest grin on her face and sat down to read. She told me that she could read it, and proceeded to read some aloud.
Her favorite was the third book, but she really enjoyed them all. Each ministry trip we go on, she brings one along to read in the car and when we have down time.
They aren’t long books, so more proficient readers could read them very quickly. But, reading just a few pages a day, she was able to get through all four in a few weeks.
I liked being able to read about Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny. They have lots of fun adventures. I wish the books were broken into chapters, because it’d make it easier to find where I was. But, I liked the pictures. And now I want to watch the movies. And read more of the books in this series.
What Did I Think?
If you have a child who isn’t yet ready to read the original Boxcar Children books, but who is ready to try some children’s mystery books, I really recommend these books. They’re the perfect way for a reluctant or struggling reader to access books that their peers are reading. This is so important!
To see what other families thought of these books, please click on the banner below.