The Boxcar Children.
If you don’t know who I am talking about, I am extremely sad for the terrible childhood you must have had without them in your life. I was obsessed. OBSESSED. I daydreamed about how cute Henry must be, was awed by Jessie’s maturity and was totally mystified about how Violet could be so nice all the time. I easily related to Benny though—all he wanted to do was eat.
And come on, the whole premise of them being able to live in a boxcar for that long without adult supervision was just the icing on the cake. It inspired me on more than one occasion to try to “make it on my own” out in the woods behind my house. (Don’t worry, I never stayed out past my bedtime and freaked my parents out. I always ran out of food before dark. Oreos, my choice of sustenance, never lasted as long as I had planned. Shocker.)
It was a rollercoaster ride of emotions every time I read those pages. There was mystery (duh), suspense, danger, humor, “romance,” drama and, of course, the perfect resolution of conflict. But it was worth it. The first book is one of my favorites, followed closely by Mystery Behind the Wall, The Mystery of the Hidden Beach, and The Old Motel Mystery. So good. Sooooo so good.
The original author, Gertrude Chandler Warner, has a pretty cool bio if you are curious about the inspiration and background of these books. She was basically an awesome person.
Although I have graduated from the reading level of these classic books, that doesn’t stop me from dropping everything to spend an hour or two to read the moment one comes across my path. Essentially these are books that got me addicted to reading, and you can know that I will be taking my kids on weekly trips to the library to pick some of these bad boys up when the time comes.