Study Guide

The Boxcar Children

The Boxcar Children Summary

As our story opens, four hungry children stand outside a bakery eyeing the cakes. No one knows who they are or what they are doing—or, at least, the baker's wife doesn't know these things because the mysterious children refuse to give her any info. After talking the baker's wife into giving them a place to sleep that night, the kids sit down for a dinner of bread and … more bread.

As it turns out, the children are brothers and sisters: Henry (age 14), Jessie (age 12), Violet (age 10), and Benny (age 5). (Benny's age is the only one explicitly stated in the book; we've taken the others from subsequent books in the series because we're fancy like that.) Their parents are dead, and the Alden children are on the run from a mean grandfather they've never met, and that's literally all we ever find out about their background. So far, the running away isn't going all that well, though: When Henry and Jessie overhear the baker's wife say she plans to put them to work and ship Benny off to the Children's Home the next day, they flee into the darkness. They spend the next few days walking all night and sleeping during the day.

After spending a night sleeping in the woods, a nasty storm drives Jessie to seek shelter. She finds an abandoned boxcar, and the kids like it so much that they decide to make it their home. They don't have much in the way of worldly possessions—just $4, a few towels, and a couple of other small items—but they manage to turn the boxcar into a sweet crib. They scavenge dishes from the dump, and Henry builds a swimming pool. They even get a dog, Watch, who joins the family after Jessie pulls a thorn out of his paw. They're like the perfect American family, assuming you're willing to overlook the whole "runaway orphan" thing.

Henry finds a job in town working for a local doctor. While he toils during the day, Jessie takes care of the shorties and plans the menu. Dr. Moore keeps Henry pretty busy. Though he's more than satisfied with Henry's work, the doctor is curious about what Henry's whole deal is. So, he secretly follows him back to the boxcar—yikes—and then he secretly returns two more times to get further info on the kids, once in the middle of the night (nearly giving Henry and Jessie heart attacks) and once while all of the kids are at his house picking cherries.

At some point along the way, Dr. Moore realizes that the children's grandfather is Mr. Alden, the neighboring town's resident billionaire. For no real reason, he decides to keep this info to himself. Meanwhile, life in the boxcar is going great until Violet gets sick. Henry seeks help from Dr. Moore, who takes them all back to his place while Violet recovers.

The morning after the kids move into Dr. Moore's house, Mr. Alden turns up. (Does he somehow intuit his grandchildren are there, or does someone—Dr. Moore?—tip him off? We never find out.) Mr. Alden knows the kids are afraid of their grandfather, so the plan is that Mr. Alden will win them over without revealing his true identity. The plan totally works, and by the time the kids figure out who Mr. A. is, they already trust him, so everything's cool. After Violet recovers, they all move into his super fancy mansion and live happily ever after with their beloved boxcar, which Mr. Alden parks in one of his gardens.

  • Chapter 1

    The Four Hungry Children

    • Four mysterious children peer into a bakery window, admiring the goods on display.
    • As they discuss the relative merits of bread versus sweets, the baker's wife eyes them with suspicion. She doesn't like kids.
    • Two of the kids are Benny and Violet, who are about 5 and 10 years old, respectively. The older kids are Jessie and Henry.
    • Henry decides they'll buy bread because it's more nutritious than cake. He seems really practical.
    • On the way in, he mentions that maybe they can stay the night at the bakery. Maybe Henry isn't so practical after all?
    • Jessie asks for three loaves of bread. Henry pays for them. The baker's wife continues to give them the stink eye.
    • Upon seeing some benches, Jessie asks the baker's wife if she and her companions can sleep there that night. She offers to wash dishes and do other chores around the bakery the next day.
    • The baker's wife doesn't like the idea of the children staying the night, but she does like the idea of not having to do the dishes herself.
    • She asks the children about their parents. Oh, they're dead. NBD.
    • Benny, the youngest boy, offers up that they have a grandfather that lives in a nearby town, Greenfield, but they don't like him. Jessie seems to wish he had kept quiet.
    • The baker's wife asks why they don't like their grandfather. Though the children have never met him, their understanding is that he didn't like their mother, aka his daughter-in-law, so they just assume he wouldn't like them, either.
    • The baker's wife asks the children where they used to live, but the four kids stay mum. They're done talking.
    • The baker's wife agrees to the plan. Henry thanks her, and the four kids sit down for their sad bread dinner. Henry declares it delicious, and the baker's wife walks off in a huff.
    • Benny observes that the baker's wife doesn't like the four children. He's not wrong.
    • The children bed down on the benches, and the youngest two fall asleep immediately. Jessie and Henry are still up, though, and they can hear the baker and his wife talking.
    • The baker's wife wants to keep the three oldest children and give Benny up to the Children's Home. Dang, that's cold, baker's wife.
    • The baker agrees and then says they should find out about the grandfather. He seems marginally more responsible than his wife, if just as awful.
    • Jessie and Henry stay silent until they're sure the baker and his wife are asleep. They immediately agree they must flee the bakery.
    • Jessie takes stock of their gear: clothes, soap, towels, a laundry bag, Violet's workbag, two loaves of bread, a knife, and $4. That's it.
    • They decide to carry Benny, who's still sleeping, and wake Violet; when they do, she's ready to roll without any questions.
    • Henry scoops up Benny, and the children quietly leave the bakery, fleeing into the night. Boxcar Children out!
  • Chapter 2

    Night Is Turned Into Day

    • The children leave the baker's town and arrive at a road, walking by the light of the moon.
    • Henry says he can carry Benny a long way, but Violet thinks they should wake him up—they'll move faster with Benny on his feet.
    • Benny isn't exactly amenable to this plan, but when Violet turns it into a game where Benny pretends to be a little bear, he's totally on board.
    • The children walk past dark farmhouses, and after a long time, the sun begins to rise. They decide they need to bed down somewhere. Benny is already asleep again in Henry's arms.
    • Violet finds a haystack, and Henry declares it a great place to sleep. Sure, Henry. Sounds great.
    • The children make sleep nests in the haystack and fall asleep right away. They're super tired.
    • When they wake up, everyone is hungry. Guess what's on the menu? Bread. That's it.
    • Benny is thirsty, but Henry thinks they need to wait for dark to find water. At nightfall, they make their way to a water pump and drink their fill.
    • As they set off on the road, Jessie says they should hide in the bushes if they hear anyone—and then they immediately hear someone. Good timing, Jessie.
    • The children hide in the bushes as planned. A horse and cart approach, and wouldn't you know, it's the baker and his wife. They're looking for the children.
    • They say they're planning to look in Greenfield and then give up looking, which is useful info for the kids.
    • After the baker and his wife are out of sight, the children emerge from the bushes and continue down the road.
    • Around 2 a.m., they come to a crossroads. One road leads to Greenfield, while the other goes to Silver City. Knowing the plans of the baker and his wife, they choose Silver City.
    • Eventually, they come to a water fountain. It has three levels: one for people, one for horses, and one for dogs. Water fountains used to be way cooler, apparently.
    • Everyone drinks some water, and then Benny starts to complain about feeling tired. Classic Benny.
    • Henry decides they will sleep in the woods. Jessie thinks this sounds like a great plan since the woods seem deserted. Clearly these kids have never seen a horror movie.
    • The kids make beds out of pine needles and prepare to go to sleep. As they drift off, Jessie observes that it looks like it might rain.
  • Chapter 3

    A New Home in the Woods

    • Good morning. Jessie is up first, and she realizes there's about to be a big storm.
    • She takes initiative and walks off into the woods, looking for shelter. She comes upon an old boxcar. Something tells Shmoop that this might be where the Boxcar Children get their name.
    • Jessie runs back to the other kids and tells them about the boxcar. The storm is imminent, so they take off through the woods.
    • It starts to rain before they get to the boxcar. Jessie and Henry arrive first and roll back the heavy door.
    • As the storm begins in earnest, the Boxcar Children just chill in the boxcar.
    • Violet declares the empty, old boxcar totally perfect. Sure, Violet, whatever you say.
    • Finally, the storm ends and the children emerge into the forest. It's really pretty. Jessie declares that they should live there; the boxcar can be their house.
    • Benny doesn't want to live in the boxcar because he thinks an engine will come along and hit it. And also, it's a boxcar.
    • Henry explains that the boxcar has been abandoned and the track is no longer in use. Henry is totally on board with this living-in-a-boxcar plan.
    • Giving up, Benny asks about dinner. Guess what's on the menu? Bread.
    • Benny starts to cry because he hates his sad bread dinner. Shmoop is starting to think he's the most sensible of the children.
    • Henry decides he'll walk into town and get some milk.
    • He's worried about leaving the girls on their own, but Jessie tells him not to worry and that they'll have a surprise for him when he gets back.
    • When Henry is gone, Jessie tells the other kids she saw some blueberries in the woods. That's the surprise.
    • They're about to gather blueberries when Jessie hears something making noise in the woods. Oh, dear.
  • Chapter 4

    Henry Has Two Surprises

    • The kids wait quietly in the boxcar, hoping to discover the source of the noise. Benny thinks it might be a bear; things are sort of tense.
    • Oh, good, it's not a bear—it's just a dog with an injured paw.
    • The dog hops over to Jessie, who removes a thorn from his foot and ties a wet handkerchief around it as a bandage.
    • Jessie holds the dog so he can rest while the other children go to pick blueberries.
    • After a while, Jessie goes over to help, still holding the dog.
    • Oh, here's Henry—he brought milk and cheese and bread.
    • Henry is psyched about the dog. He thinks the pup will make a great watchdog.
    • Benny informs the group that the dog's name is Watch. Guess that's settled.
    • It's time for dinner, so Jessie arranges the laundry bag into a tablecloth and cuts the bread and cheese into chunks. She also puts out the blueberries. Henry is psyched about those, too.
    • Everyone (including Watch) eats dinner. There's some milk leftover at the end, which they'll have for breakfast.
    • Jessie declares that they will sleep on beds—though by beds, she actually means pine needles.
    • As they arrange their "beds" in the boxcar, Jessie plots out the space. She thinks there will be room for a kitchen and a sitting room. Jessie has a pretty active imagination.
    • Time to wash up. Afterward, Jessie washes the towels and hangs them on a clothesline to dry.
    • Jessie thinks they should have a little nightcap before bed, by which she means some water.
    • Henry takes two empty milk bottles off to the water fountain, and after a few sips, everyone is ready for bed. It's hot, so they leave the door of the boxcar open.
  • Chapter 5

    The Explorers Find Treasure

    • Jessie is up bright and early to tidy up. She goes to retrieve the milk from the "refrigerator," which is a cold nook in the waterfall.
    • The nook worked, and the milk is ready to drink. Over breakfast, Henry tells the group he plans to go into town and find work.
    • Henry sets off for town, promising to be back by lunchtime.
    • Jessie leads the other two children on a treasure hunt, and with that, they set off to find a dump.
    • Benny wants to know if the stuff at the dump really qualifies as treasure. Good question, Benny.
    • Benny also wants to know if there will be wheels at the dump. This seems oddly specific, but Violet thinks there probably will be.
    • Watch is still hopping around on three legs, but he's in high spirits. He likes the Boxcar Children.
    • The kids walk for a while and finally find a dump, which is conveniently filled with wheels and dishes.
    • The kids gather some of the dishes. Benny has four wheels and a pink cup that he declares as his.
    • Everyone makes their way back to camp, where Jessie washes the dishes using soap and sand. When Henry returns, they'll boil some water to rinse everything a final time.
    • Violet has spotted some pegs in the boxcar on which they can build a shelf. Once they do, Jessie arranges the dishes and some flowers on the new shelf to make the boxcar more homey. She's very pleased with herself.
    • Here's Henry. He's carrying all sorts of stuff, but he won't reveal what he has yet.
    • The children tell Henry about their big day at the dump, and then Henry builds a fire so they can boil water to rinse the dishes.
  • Chapter 6

    A Queer Noise in the Night

    • It's time for dinner, which means Henry is finally going to reveal what's in those bundles. Nothing too exciting: bread, milk, dried meat, and a bone for the dog.
    • Dinner is bread soaked in milk. Jessie declares how fun it is to eat with spoons. Poor Jessie.
    • Henry tells the kids about his day: He walked into town and stumbled upon a doctor mowing his lawn. Henry offered to help and, boom, he was hired. You go, Henry.
    • Impressed with Henry's lawn-mowing skills, the doctor tells Henry he wants him to work every day.
    • The doctor paid Henry $1 for his work, and the cook gave him a huge bag of cookies. Score.
    • In town, Henry bought a tablecloth, which Violet can't wait to hem to the right length.
    • The meal finished, the girls wash the dishes, and Henry heads back into town.
    • That afternoon, Jessie makes a broom, and Violet works on the tablecloth. Watch and Benny take a nap.
    • Henry returns later in the day with a special treat: butter. The children feast.
    • Jessie asks Henry about his day. He washed the doctor's car and the windows. Very industrious.
    • Hot and tired from the day's work, Henry looks at the brook and wonders if he could build a swimming pool.
    • Benny offers his wheels for the pool for some reason, but Henry decides he'll make a cart so Benny can haul stones.
    • Bedtime. Everyone falls asleep straight away except for Henry, who's up obsessing over the pool. Suddenly, he notices that the dog is on high alert.
    • Watch starts to growl, and now Jessie is awake. She and Henry are frightened, and they decide to close the door to the boxcar.
    • Uh-oh, Watch is still growling—Jessie wonders if there's a person out in the woods.
    • A stick breaks, and Watch begins to bark. If there really is a person in the woods, now they know about the boxcar. Yikes.
    • Poor, frightened Henry grabs the broom and waits expectantly for an intruder … but no one comes. Whew.
    • After a long wait, Henry opens the boxcar door. Watch promptly goes to sleep, letting Henry and Jessie know all is well once more.
    • Finally, they go to sleep, too.
  • Chapter 7

    A Big Meal From Little Onions

    • It's morning, and Jessie and Henry are discussing the excitement from the night before. They don't say anything about it to the younger kids, though.
    • Jessie wonders if the "intruder" was a rabbit, but Henry thinks it might have been a person.
    • Henry says the dog will protect them. They'll just carry on as if nothing happened, though they can't let Benny go into the woods by himself.
    • Henry is very excited to get to work, so he runs the whole way to the doctor's house.
    • It's garden day, and the doctor's mother, Mrs. Moore, is going to tell Henry what's up in the garden.
    • Mrs. Moore thins vegetables with Henry for a while before leaving him to work on his own.
    • Eventually, she comes back and sends Henry home for lunch. She doesn't want any of the vegetables he pulled, so he's taking those with him.
    • Henry goes back to the boxcar, where Benny has been building a fireplace all day. Jessie and Violet helped, and they've set up the kettle over it and everything.
    • The fireplace was good timing because Henry brought home all of those vegetables along with some meat he picked up at the store.
    • The children prepare the food and start the fire. They're going to have stew for dinner, but in the meantime, it's another lunch of milk-soaked bread.
    • Henry heads back to the doctor's house. Dr. Moore wants him to clean the garage. What a treat.
    • No, seriously—Henry thinks that's a treat.
    • Henry begins to organize the garage, setting aside a pile of bent nails for his own use.
    • When the doctor gets home, he's very excited to find the garage so organized.
    • The doctor notices he has four hammers and, deciding he doesn't need that many, gives one to Henry.
    • The doctor asks Henry to return on Monday to pick cherries from his orchard. He says he could use a few extra sets of hands. Hmm, do you think he knows about Henry's brother and sisters?
    • Back to the boxcar. Henry smells the stew. Oh, and look—Jessie has made a ladle from more garbage.
    • The children feast on the stew. When they're finished, Henry begins to make Benny's cart. He decides he'll build the swimming pool the next day, which is Sunday.
    • After Henry builds the cart, the children bed down in the boxcar. Fingers crossed they don't hear that strange noise again tonight.
  • Chapter 8

    A Swimming Pool at Last

    • The kids sleep till 10 a.m. on Sunday morning, and after breakfast, they start to work on the swimming pool. It's going to be a group effort.
    • They assess the brook and decide they need to build a dam. Jessie washes socks.
    • Building a dam is hard work, but the Boxcar Children are basically perfect, so they don't mind.
    • After the children lay some logs on top of a stack of stones, they realize they need to build a tall wall with more logs. Good thing they like hard work so much.
    • Finally, the dam is finished, and the pool fills with water. You know what that means: It's swimming time.
    • The boys get the first swim while the girls cook dinner. Shmoop thinks the boys got the better end of that deal.
    • Jessie and Violet heat up the leftover stew. Then, Jessie rings the dinner bell. Guess what she made it from? More garbage from the dump.
    • The children eat stew, wash dishes, and then set off on a walk. Watch begins to bark. Uh-oh, do you think it's the intruder?
    • No, it's a runaway hen.
    • Benny finds a nest with some eggs, and as luck would have it, Jessie knows how to cook eggs. That's dinner sorted.
    • Jessie cooks the eggs and they're delish. She thanks Benny for finding them.
  • Chapter 9

    Fun in the Cherry Orchard

    • Henry wonders if he should take the other kids to pick cherries, so he asks Jessie what she thinks.
    • Jessie thinks that their grandfather might be on the lookout for four kids traveling together, so she suggests they walk into town in pairs.
    • It's cherry-pickin' time. The whole gang is there, but Benny is too little to pick cherries so he's just going to watch.
    • Henry, Jessie, and Violet start picking, while Benny just runs around eating cherries and making friends with everyone.
    • At lunchtime, Dr. Moore invites the children to stay and eat. He asks if their mother will mind and gives Henry a quizzical look. Could he possibly know they're on their own?
    • Henry doesn't know what to say about the whole mother thing, but Jessie steps in and says their parents are dead.
    • Everyone eats lunch, and there are cherry dumplings for dessert. Yum. Then, Benny settles down for a nap, and the other kids get back to work.
    • At the end of the day, Dr. Moore gives the kids $4 and more cherries. He notes that the kids leave in pairs instead of walking together as a group.
    • The boxcar is just as the children left it, so they have some supper and go to bed.
    • That night, Dr. Moore sees an ad in the paper: A man named James Henry Alden is offering $5,000 for four lost children.
    • Dr. Moore instantly realizes that the children the man is looking for are his workers. You can't get anything by this doctor.
    • The doctor resolves to keep the children's secret, though, 'cause he's cool like that.
  • Chapter 10

    Henry and the Free-for-All

    • A little more on James Henry Alden: He's very rich. Just in case you didn't catch that from his offer of a $5,000 reward.
    • Also, he's really supportive of young boys and sports, so he sponsors an annual Field Day. It's a very popular event.
    • Field Day involves lots of different kinds of races, but the most popular event is a run called the free-for-all. Anyone can participate, and the prize is $25.
    • So, it's Field Day, and Henry is mowing the lawn. Dr. Moore tells him that he can take the day off to watch the races; Dr. Moore can't stay to watch, so he wants Henry to give him the full report later.
    • Henry decides he doesn't just want to watch, though—he wants to run in the free-for-all.
    • As he changes into his track clothes, a man asks Henry how long he's been training. Most of the people in the race have been training all year.
    • Henry says he didn't train; he's just running for the fun of it.
    • And, they're off. Henry starts off slow because he knows it's going to be a long race. This means he's behind almost everyone else at the beginning.
    • After a while, though, Henry decides to run faster. The crowd begins to pay attention—everyone loves an underdog.
    • Henry passes, like, a million people, until in the end, it comes down to him and one other boy. Henry pulls out the win.
    • Mr. Alden asks Henry for his name. Henry tells a lie of omission: He gives his name as Henry James, which is only his first and middle names.
    • Without Henry realizing, Dr. Moore has watched this happen from the bleachers. He's amused to see Henry shake hands with Mr. Alden.
    • Henry returns to Dr. Moore's and mows the lawn. When the doctor arrives, he lets Henry tell him all about Field Day, never telling the boy that he was there in the bleachers.
    • Back at the boxcar, Jessie has prepared a vegetable dinner. Henry tells them all about Field Day and his big win.
    • Another surprise: Henry brought home some potatoes. Jessie knows how to cook them.
    • Apropos of nothing, Jessie decides that Benny needs to learn how to read. They have some paper and a makeshift pencil made from a charred stick, so the girls try to teach Benny the words "see" and "me." This seems ambitious given that Benny hasn't even learned the alphabet.
    • Benny has trouble at first. But, after he thinks Watch is beating him at reading, he tries harder and learns the two words. Then, he learns a few more words.
    • Jessie cooks the potatoes by wrapping them in wet paper and putting them directly in the fire. When she finally rolls them out of the fire, Henry thinks they're burned.
    • They're not burned, though, and the children add some toppings and dinner is served.
    • Benny shows off his new reading skills, then everyone goes to bed.
  • Chapter 11

    The Doctor Takes a Hand

    • Days go by. The children keep finding garbage treasures; Henry continues to work for Dr. Moore.
    • Very exciting news: Henry buys Benny some new socks. The girls make Benny a stuffed bear from his old socks.
    • Benny wants his bear to have a long tail even though bears don't have long tails. Whatever, Benny—you do you.
    • The bear is finished, and Benny names it Stockings because that's the old-fashioned word for socks.
    • Jessie gives Benny a haircut, so Benny decides to cut Watch the dog's hair. This does not go well.
    • When he shows Jessie and Violet Watch's haircut, they laugh and laugh. Watch is a really good sport about it.
    • Violet is laughing so hard she cries—but then she keeps crying and won't stop. Turns out she's not hysterical; she's sick.
    • Jessie puts Violet to bed in the boxcar. Her forehead is really hot.
    • Henry comes home, and he and Jessie discuss taking Violet to the hospital. Trouble is, they're worried it will put their grandfather on their trail.
    • Violet is shaking all over, so Jessie covers her with pine needles. Let's give her points for trying.
    • Henry decides that Violet should see Dr. Moore, so he runs into town. Dr. Moore drives back to the boxcar without asking where to go, and when he parks the car, he finds the boxcar straightaway. Odd, isn't it?
    • Dr. Moore decides to take Violet back to his place. Once there, he puts her to bed, and Mrs. Moore and the cook tend to her.
    • Don't worry—the other children are going to stay at Dr. Moore's, too. Violet is so ill that Dr. Moore stays up with her all night.
    • In the morning, a man comes to see Dr. Moore. He mumbles something about $5,000, so we can guess he is Mr. Alden.
    • While the man waits for the doctor, Benny keeps him entertained. Benny also tells the man that his sister Violet is ill.
    • Benny and Mr. Alden are getting along really well. Benny asks Mr. Alden if he has a dog, but Mr. Alden's dog is dead. Bummer.
    • Oh, here's Watch the dog, very much alive. Hi, Watch.
    • Dr. Moore comes in and sends Benny off to play. The doctor tells Mr. Alden that Benny is his grandchild, and Mr. Alden seems excited but confused.
    • Now, Dr. Moore tells Mr. Alden about Henry. Mr. Alden is stoked because he remembers Henry from Field Day.
  • Chapter 12

    James Henry and Henry James

    • Dr. Moore lets his mother in on the secret that Mr. Alden is the Boxcar Children's grandfather. Everyone agrees that Mr. Alden should introduce himself without admitting that he's their grandfather.
    • Mr. Alden says he'll give Dr. Moore the $5,000 reward, but Dr. Moore refuses it. (Dr. Moore, are you feeling OK?)
    • The cook is nervous about what to make for Mr. Alden—she doesn't know how to cook for rich people.
    • It's dinnertime. Violet is still sick in bed, but the other children are meeting Mr. Alden. Henry knows he looks familiar, but he can't quite place him.
    • Mr. Alden tells the children about a cucumber he's growing inside a bottle. Apparently, this strange anecdote is the key to their hearts; they all like him very much.
    • Eventually, Violet is well enough to receive visitors, so Mr. Alden takes her flowers and everyone is charmed.
    • Henry finally realizes that Mr. Alden is the same man who gave him the $25 prize on Field Day. He goes to confront Dr. Moore.
    • Dr. Moore reveals the truth: Mr. Alden is Henry's grandfather. Henry is shocked—shocked.
    • Now, Henry goes to confront Mr. Alden. They shake hands, as relatives do, and when Jessie and Benny walk in on their conversation, Henry explains that Mr. Alden is their grandfather. Then, they go to tell Violet.
    • Mr. Alden wonders where the children have been living all this time. Who's going to break it to him that they were living in a boxcar in the woods?
    • The children realize that Dr. Moore knew they were living in the boxcar. Turns out he was the "intruder" that night when Watch was barking. He followed Henry home out of curiosity.
    • Dr. Moore has been sneaking around quite a lot, actually: The day the children picked cherries, he went back to the boxcar to check it out more closely.
    • Mr. Alden wonders why Dr. Moore didn't tell him that his grandchildren were living in a boxcar. Good question, Mr. Alden.
    • The doctor says he thought the kids were having a good time on their own so he only came forward once Violet became ill.
    • Mr. Alden wants to see the boxcar. He's also ready to show the children his own house—which is not a boxcar, we're willing to bet.
    • Once Violet recovers, everyone goes out to the boxcar for a visit. They have a picnic and stay until dark. On the agenda for tomorrow? A visit to Mr. Alden's house.
  • Chapter 13

    A New Home for the Boxcar

    • Mr. Alden hopes the children will live with him so he's been preparing some rooms for them.
    • When the children arrive at his house, they're shocked—they had no idea he was a fancy rich person.
    • Violet's room is decorated with violets. It's a bit literal, but Violet seems happy.
    • Benny's room has animals everywhere, while Jessie's room has a special bed for Watch the dog.
    • Speaking of … ding-dong. Looks like someone's at the door to talk to Mr. Alden about the dog. Suddenly, the children feel nervous.
    • Watch seems happy to see the person at the door. As it turns out, this man was his former owner, but he sold Watch to a woman. He's here to collect the dog and return him to the woman.
    • Henry suggests that the woman get a new dog; he and his siblings will keep Watch.
    • Everyone goes to see the unnamed woman. She's sympathetic to the children's pleas, and she says she'll take another dog so the children can keep Watch. Phew.
    • Mr. Alden pays the man for the dog. Then, they go home for dinner, where everyone is waited on by maids—including Watch.
    • Over time, the children begin to miss the boxcar. They love their grandfather's fancy house, but the boxcar had a certain something.
    • Mr. Alden sends the children to Dr. Moore's for the day, and when they get home, they're surprised to see their boxcar in Mr. Alden's garden.
    • The children are delighted, and then everyone lives happily ever after.
    • The end.