Before they were the Boxcar Children, Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny Alden lived with their parents at Fair Meadow Farm. Although times are hard, they're happy-"the best family of all," Mama likes to say. One day, a blizzard hits the countryside, and a car is stranded on the road near their farm. The family in the car needs shelter, and when the Aldens take them in, the strangers soon become friends. But things never stay the same at Fair Meadow Farm, and the spring and summer bring events that will forever change the lives of the Alden children. Newbery-Award winning author Patricia MacLachlan pays loving tribute to the classic novel by Gertrude Chandler Warner in this story of the Alden children's origins and the challenges they faced before their boxcar adventures.