Throwback Book Review: Boxcar Children #14 and 16

Welcome to my weekly throwback book review! Each week I’ll be rereading and reviewing one or two books from my childhood. I was a huge reader as a child and these books shaped my life. I couldn’t possibly get rid of them, so I still have a large collection that I am sharing with all of you in the form of reviews.

It’s been a while since the last book I own, which was #9. What We Missed: #10 Schoolhouse Mystery, in which the kids are dared to go to the most boring place, a remote fishing town, because everywhere they go, they find a mystery. Big surprise, they find a mystery anyway having to do with the village when they open up a schoolhouse for poor kids. #11 Caboose Mystery, in which they spend some time living on a train in the caboose. Lots of weird things happen with some circus people and there’s a missing necklace.

#12 Houseboat Mystery, in which the kids decide living on a houseboat will be fun. There’s something about a mysterious dark car and a missing vase. Are you seeing a pattern here? #13 Snowbound Mystery, in which they decide to go live in a cabin and get snowbound, and have to find some secret recipes?

#14 Tree House Mystery: The kids are finally done traveling, and after being summer for a whole stretch of books and then a random snowstorm, it’s nice weather outside again. The Aldens get new neighbors in the form of parents and their two sons who are eight and ten, and somehow younger than Benny, who we still have no idea how old he is. The kids seem bored so the Aldens come up with the idea of helping them build a treehouse in their yard. Come to find out, there was a treehouse built by the boys’ dad and uncle in that tree before, and they no longer speak because each one thought the other had lost or stolen their telescope.

While building the treehouse, they find the telescope hidden in a hole in the tree, and while looking through it, they discover a mysterious window in the roof of the neighbor’s house, and find out that it is in a boarded up room in the attic that no one knew was there. A woman had lived there before and her grandson had come to visit for the summer, and when she moved out, she didn’t want kids playing with her grandson’s toys so she hid the room instead of… taking the toys with her? Mystery solved I guess.

This one wasn’t too bad. It was a nice, kid-friendly mystery that was easily solved, though it was strange.

#15 Bicycle Mystery: I don’t own this one. The kids apparently take a bicycle trip to visit their great aunt again. They find a dog and go on an adventure to return it to its owner.

#16 Mystery in the Sand: I remember this one more than most of these. They’re living on the beach for a bit in a mobile home owned by their great aunt (seems a bit small for the sister of a rich guy, who owned a ranch and then a nice New England home). They make friends with an old man who has a metal detector, and Benny finds a locket with the initials RL. There’s also a mysterious big house in town with a reclusive lady living there. When Violet rescues a cat from traffic, they are invited into the big house where a second woman asks to paint her with the cat. This is Ruth Lane, a descendant of the original owners of the house, and the other woman is her housekeeper.

The kids befriend the two women, as they do, and Benny returns the locket to Ruth Lane. Their grandfather arranges a gallery opening for Ruth Lane’s art to benefit a cat shelter so the town can get to know  the two women.

As far as mysteries go, this one isn’t bad either. The power of children’s kindness saves the day again. We’re close to the end of the original 19 or so books by Gertrude Chandler Warner so it’ll be interesting to see the differences in the series once the ghostwriters take over.

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