Throwback Book Review: Boxcar Children #26 and 30

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: #25 The Amusement Park Mystery. The kids go to visit their aunt and uncle who happen to live next to an amusement park. They discover that someone is damaging the merry go round horses so of course they have to solve that mystery.

#26 The Mystery of the Mixed-Up Zoo: The kids go with their grandfather to visit a friend of his that owns a small zoo. Right away the kids want to fix up the guy’s house and cook for him. They love the zoo, especially when things start going wrong, as they do. Someone switches the name tags on the exhibits, cuts the power so that they can’t prepare the food, steals files, steals the special vitamins, and steals a monkey from the monkey house.

The kids consider everyone a suspect including the nice zoo employees, the woman who wants the zoo shut down, even the guy who runs the bookstore down the street. (Spoiler: it was bookstore guy, he worked at the zoo and got fired). They go to a pet store to pick up some extra vitamins and find their suspect trying to sell the zoo’s missing monkey.

This was one of my favorite ones growing up, yet I didn’t remember much of it when I picked it up again. I oddly remembered them cleaning his house more than any of the zoo stuff. Also, they take a picnic to the park where Henry does chin ups, then Jessie does just as many, and Violet shows off by trying out the rings. “Holding her arms straight, she did a handstand, then flipped over to the ground.” Um, is Violet a secret Olympic gymnast?

What We Missed: #27 The Camp-Out Mystery, #28 The Mystery Girl, and #29 The Mystery Cruise. The kids go on a haunted camping trip, work with a weird girl at a general store, and take a cruise, respectively.

#30 The Disappearing Friend Mystery: The kids run into a girl doing her family’s grocery shopping and make friends with her. They also find out that there’s a fundraiser to add a new wing to their local hospital. The kids’ new friend comes up with an idea to run an errand service to raise money to donate. They do just that, but they’re thwarted at every turn by pranks, like the air being let out of bicycle tires, posters being destroyed, and issues with every job they do. On top of that, their new friend is being weird and disappearing all over the place.

Turns out, those two mysteries are related. Their new friend Beth is actually a twin, and they were friends with both of them without even realizing. And neither sister corrected them. The second twin tried to usurp her sister’s place with the Aldens, and also mess things up for them. Mystery solved, and the sisters will probably never be seen again. Just like Mike, who hasn’t been seen for many books now (unless he showed up in a book I didn’t read).

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