For the month of July, I’m planning a series of posts about readalikes: what to read (or what to suggest to your favorite child reader) when you’ve read all of your favorite author’s books or all of the books of a certain genre that you know of, and you don’t know what to read next.
Readalikes for the Boxcar Children books are plentiful, but the older titles are better. In fact, I only recommend the Boxcar children books in the original series up through number nineteen, Benny Uncovers a Mystery. The first nineteen Boxcar Children books were actually written by Gertrude Chandler Warner and are delightfully old-fashioned and wholesome in attitude. The 100+ subsequent titles in the series were written after Ms. Warner’s death in 1979, and I have been told that the books in the new series are not nearly as good as the originals.
Some follow-up suggestions for Boxcar Children:
Helen Fuller Orton’s mysteries. I have recommended Ms. Orton’s books before. Similar in style and reading level to The Boxcar Children series, the mysteries by Helen Fuller Orton are more intriguing and more varied in characters and plot than The Boxcar Children mysteries. Mystery in the Pirate Oak tells the story of Chad and Ellie Turner and their search for a missing silver box hidden long ago in the old oak tree in the nearby meadow. Grandmother Hale is hopeful that if the box could be found it might have something in it that would provide enough cash to fix her leaking roof and have the old house painted. Can Chad and Ellie find the sixty year old silver box before someone else does and before summer vacation is over?
Other books by Helen Fuller Orton, worth searching for if you have readers who enjoy the Boxcar Children:
Mystery of the Hidden Book.
Secret of the Rosewood Box.
Mystery of the Secret Drawer.
Mystery of the Lost Letter.
Mystery in the Apple Orchard.
Mystery Up the Winding Stair.
Mystery at the Little Red School-House.
Mystery in the Old Red Barn.
Mystery over the Brick Wall.
The Morgan Bay mysteries by John and Nancy Rambeau. If you have any of the books in this series hanging about in your attic and you want to get rid of them, send them my way. I own three of the eight books in this reading textbook series, and I’d love to have there rest. I enjoyed them when I was about seven or eight years old, and I’ve enjoyed recommending them to the younger readers in my library. The series starts out on about a second grade reading level and moves gently and progressively up to about third or fourth grade level within the series. For that reason and for reasons of plot development, the books are best read in order.
The Mystery of Morgan Castle.
The Mystery of the Missing Marlin.
The Mystery of the Marble Angel.
The Mystery of the Midnight Visitor.
The Mystery of the Marauder’s Gold.
The Mystery of the Musical Ghost.
The Mystery of Monks’ Island.
The Mystery of the Myrmidon’s Journey.
If the appeal of the Boxcar Children books lies not in their mystery or their simplified vocabulary and plot, but rather in the “romance” of four children living in a boxcar on their own, doing their own homemaking and supporting themselves by their own ingenuity, then the following books might appeal:
Mandy by Julie Edwards. Many, an orphan who longs to have her own home, discovers an abandoned cottage in the woods and fixes it up as her very own secret playhouse.
The Family Under The Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson. Armand, an elderly street dweller in Paris, shares his home under the bridge with a poverty-stricken young mother and her three children.
Baby Island by Carol Ryrie Brink. Sisters Mary and Jean are shipwrecked with four babies on a deserted island, and the two older children make a home for themselves and the littles ones.
The Children Who Lived in a Barn by Eleanor Graham. I haven’t read this one, but it sounds intriguing.