Throwback Book Review: Boxcar Children #21 and 22

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.

What We Missed: #20 The Haunted Cabin Mystery. Apparently the kids take a paddleboat to go visit someone who lives in a cabin and scary things happen.

Starting with #20, these books are no longer written by the original author. It’s interesting to see the switch and what they changed, which I’ll talk about more in each review.

#21 The Deserted Library Mystery: Seeing as I love books, I was surprised that I didn’t really remember this one. There’s a library that’s been abandoned and their grandfather wants it turned into a historical site, so he volunteers the kids to go live in a friend’s summer home and fix up the library. A group of kids, 5, 10, 12 and 14. By themselves. But okay.

While cleaning up, they find a couple of parts to an old Civil War sword, so Henry calls their grandfather to tell him about it, in a diner with people around. Surprise, they start getting unwanted visitors in the library when they’re not there, someone’s looking for the sword. They also find a boy in the library who stole part of their lunch, he’s hiding out because his father may have been lost at sea and he doesn’t want to be sent away. He pitches in to help the kids clean and they still find evidence of an intruder, who starts creeping around the house they’re staying in too, trying to scare them off. Jessie has a run-in with him and hears someone humming a strange tune.

When their grandfather comes to town to see the progress and find the boy’s father who had been rescued from his boat accident (because of course), Jessie hears the tune again while they’re celebrating in the diner, and they turn the intruder over to the sheriff. Turns out he’s been robbing every place in town.

The library is preserved, and the sword ends up in a museum in Boston called the ‘Boston Museum’. Being from the area, pretty sure that’s not a thing, but I guess I’ll give it a pass for being fiction. Why not the Smithsonian or somewhere like that though?

#22 The Animal Shelter Mystery: I remember this one a lot more, it was probably one I read the most. The kids are at home when they find a cat on their porch with a note that says the owner needed a home for the cat and thought they’d be best. They make it their mission in life to find the cat’s owner and figure out why they were getting rid of their pet. They find out the cat belongs to an old woman who has gone missing, there are strange men at her house that don’t want the kids around.

The kids are currently volunteering at the animal shelter for the summer and find out that the founder is shutting it down unexpectedly. More and more animals keep popping up that belonged to the old woman as well. The kids decide to take in some animals from the shelter, making a makeshift shelter in their old boxcar. This was always my favorite part, I loved the idea of running my own shelter and the way they set up an office in their garage.

They find an old deed that shows the old woman’s house and the land the shelter was on both belonged to her father, and conveniently, the land is about to be up for sale because the deed was never filed. The old woman shows up at the boxcar to see her old pets and the kids inform her of the deed. Their grandfather rushes to town hall to file the deed and her father’s will, proving she still owns the land. Her house and the shelter are saved, and they find out she was the mysterious founder of the shelter.


So we’ve essentially started over once the new authors took over. The kids are young again, and it seems like they didn’t even read any of the books other than the first one. The kitten Violet receives in book 16 is not mentioned at all, they act like they don’t own a cat when the strange one turns up at their house. The lack of continuity is pretty disappointing.

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