One of the most epic children’s novel written between 1970 and 2000 is Bus Station Mystery by Gertrude Chandler Warner. The book was written in 1974. Accordingly, the book highlights the story of The Boxcar Children taking a bus trip to the Science and Hobby Fair. However, they are forced to stay at the bus station when a bad storm hits. After the storm, they are led into another mystery involving a polluted river. The most interesting thing is that the river is cleaned up at the end without destroying Mr. Pickett’s paint factory. The key theme of the book is taking care of nature for children to have a better room for enjoyment. Children, especially those aged below the age of twelve years like the ones highlighted in the novel learn from the initiatives of the society toward environmental protection. As the children are caught in the polluted river mystery, the town awakens to the view that the polluted river needs to be cleaned to avoid further destruction to the environment. Maybe this would not have happened if they would not have gone for the Science and Hobby Fair. Thesis: Taking care of the environment is an outstanding theme in Bus Station Mystery, which illustrates the strength of children to catalyze environmental activism in the society through their learning activities.
The Influence of Children in Taking Care of the Environment
The theme of taking care of the environment from this book starts right away before the children alight from their bus while heading to the Science and Hobby Affair. They are forced to spend most of their time at the bus station where they get an opportunity to pass their time away by playing with each other. They also have the opportunity to take their dinner at the bus station because of the bad storm that they face in their journey to the Science and Hobby Affair. This is illustrated by the assertion, “A bus station dinner!” Benny exclaimed. “Count me in! I never miss dinner.” (Warner 14) The bad storm that they face at this stage is demonstrative of the potential destruction and irresponsibility of the society toward the environment. In light of the storm, their might have been problems in taking care of nature in sectors such as tree planting. The children would have had it easier to the Science and Hobby affair in instances where they could not have been exposed to such a bad storm that halted their journey. This goes down to inefficient measures employed in taking care of nature. The overall point here is that the irresponsibility of the society toward the protection of nature affects children’s activities.
Children’s learning activities play an instrumental role in the discovery of loopholes in the implementation of the theme of taking care of nature. While on their Science and Hobby Fair, these children realize that the river has been polluted by a paint factor owned by Mr. Pickett. This signifies the importance of the children’s learning activities in the discovery of elements of nature that have not been given the required level of care. Their learning activity is vital in bringing to light an environmental concern that other members of their town had not discovered yet (Parsons 56). The clear picture painted by this is that children’s learning activities might not only be dedicated toward the enhancement of knowledge, but the discovery of nature and what should be done to protect it. The most interesting thing is that their discoveries come in the course of their enjoyment and learning. For instance, as they realize the polluted river, one of them says, “This is the best picnic I’ve ever been too.” (Warner 22). This illustrates the view that they were really having fun during their Science and Hobby Fair while at the same time making new discoveries such as the polluted river that needed quick redress by relevant authorities in the town.
The desire to take care of nature can never be stopped especially when the initial move comes from children. This is clearly evident as the children get home only to discover that Mr. Pickett is trying to tear up the pink sheets being distributed by Jude and Troy. The pink sheets focused primarily on the significant role his paint making factory had in the pollution of the river. He thought that he would obstruct the course of cleaning up the river by tearing these sheets into pieces. Nevertheless, the children saw this and were quick to report and advance the idea of ensuring the river is cleaned in the best ways possible (Call to Action 4). The assertion, “The Aldens go about most of their adventures with as little adult supervision as possible – something that delights young readers” (Warner 43) is illustrative of the ability of these children to take responsibility in reporting Mr. Pickett’s mischievous conduct of trying to conceal the pollution that had occurred in the river as a result of his factory’s operations. They did not need adult supervision in ensuring that the interests of the town are protected through a cleaner environment. They realized that growth is not only about the presence of factories in the town, but the need to protect the fundamental aspect of nature, the polluted river without fearing Mr. Pickett.
The level of activism toward taking care of nature skyrocketed once these children made a discovery of the polluted river. This demonstrates the view that children are a uniting force in the fight against any form of environmental protection. On the next day after this discovery, members of the town came out in large numbers and voted on whether they could save the river. They unanimously agreed that the river should be saved for future generations. The other thought that lingered in the minds of many town residents was whether they should clean up the river and destroy Mr. Pickett’s paint factory. However, they came to a unified opinion supported by Mr. Allen who assured them that he would participate in cleaning up the factory and subsequently save the river. The intensified activism toward the protection of nature brought about by these children was remarkable because it ultimately ensured that the river was cleaned while the factory was secured for future benefits such as continued employment opportunities. Without the involvement of these children, it would have been challenging for the town to get this high level of unity in its activities toward restoring the polluted river (Bullock 6). Many individuals would probably not have come out to fight against the continued pollution of the river in instances where students would not have stood up for it.
Lastly, children are highly collaborative in matters related to the protection of nature and the assurance of its continued sustainability over a long period. When the fisherman, Jude, and Troy tell them about the state of the polluted river, they collaboratively take the initiative to report the matter, as they much as they are having fun (Parsons 12). They do not only come here to have fun, but to ensure they collaboratively leave a clean environment that has not been tempered with by anybody. Their high level of collaboration in different matters including a positive attitude toward taking care of nature is exhibited when they do not rest until the next day to when they have breakfast. They are rewarded for their efforts toward the environment during the picnic. This is illustrated by the assertion, “But when tomorrow came, the children had more than bread and milk, as you will soon see.” (Warner 59) This means that their collaborative efforts had paid off and they were going to be rewarded big the next day through such nice meals. The best thing is that their collaboration and the conveyance of the information given to them by the fisherman, Jude, and Troy saved the river at the end of the day.
In conclusion, the book Bus Station Mystery illustrates the view that the role of children in the protection of nature can never be written off at any given instance. Through their learning experiences, the Boxcar children have the opportunity to make a discovery about the polluted river. Nothing had been done initially to address this concern and ensure the town remained clean. However, their discovery is vital in changing the status quo as Mr. Pickett does not even get the opportunity to stop them by tearing the pieces of paper with information on the polluted river. They unite the town in an activist mission aimed at cleaning the factory and saving the river. The initial decision had been to eliminate the factory and protect the future forever. Nevertheless, a decision was reached to save both the factory and the river in the long-term. As much as they wanted to have fun during the science fair, these children also had the opportunity to make a significant change that many adults had overlooked for a long period. In the overall sense, the theme of taking care of nature is mainly pushed by the Boxcar children in the course of their Science and Hobby Fair.