#2: Why was nobody ever suspicious of the Boxcar Children?
As the gang solves the mystery and saves the day in every book, nobody really ever questions their involvement. Isn’t it weird the same four children continuously see something suspicious or come across some crucial piece of evidence? All of these petty crimes seem to have four things in common, and their names are Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny. Clever detectives, or a perfect cover?
#3: The Boxcar Children inherit a uranium mine at some point.
Courtesy of some cranky old aunt living out West. Because they weren't rich enough to begin with. No wonder Violet was always sick.
#4: The original “Boxcar Children” book never addresses some essential bodily functions.
No one brushes their teeth, and there’s no explanation of where the bathroom was in their little setup. Keep in mind they specifically mention hand washing, bathing, and keeping their clothes clean. Perhaps Gertrude Chandler Warner eliminated references to Henry digging a poop pit in an early draft.
#5: Time for school?
While there are the occasional references to school friends and school work, we never see the Aldens actually attend school. Eh, they can afford experiences - getting GEDs before heading off to Grandfather's Ivy League alma mater in the future is no biggie. Enjoy your permasummer and nontraditional education while it lasts, kids.
#6: The Boxcar Children are fairly nonchalant about the death of their parents, as is Grandfather.
In the beginning of the series, Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny are flung out onto the olde-timey streets of some nonspecific corner of New England due to the unexplained death of their parents. Although it serves as the catalyst for a series of blissful adult-free adventures, in retrospect, it’s a little alarming that they shook off the shock of their parents’ sudden and untimely deaths with only a handful of references to them throughout the series. (SPOILER ALERT: in Patricia MacLachlan’s “The Aldens of Fair Meadow Farm,” it’s revealed that the kindly Aldens were killed in a traffic accident.) Post traumatic stress? Fight-or-flight survival mode? Hopefully Grandfather is dropping some of his significant fortune on a therapist for the grandkids.
Speaking of Grandfather, he harbors a long term grudge against his son and daughter-in-law, to the point where he has no relationship with his four grandchildren (and considering that Henry is fourteen throughout most of the books, that degree of silent treatment is impressive indeed.) Of course, Mr. Alden turns out to be lovely (and stinking rich,) and the Boxcar Children live happily ever after, but Grandfather’s well-hidden vindictive streak is eyebrow-raising. Is Mr. Alden capable of snapping in the future, unleashing a wave of passive-agressive fury upon the issues of his deceased son and his not-so-well healed wife? Stay tuned, and keep reading!
Feeling nostalgic for the Boxcar Children? Want to share their inoffensive adventures with your own class? Check out these four free character posters on my Teachers Pay Teachers page!