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: #47 The Mystery of the Hot Air Balloon. No info about it, but apparently a hot air balloon lands in their yard. Cool?
#48 The Mystery Bookstore: This one isn’t about a haunted bookstore, the mystery part is that the bookstore was bought by a mystery writer who wants to turn it into a mystery bookstore. The kids are in New Orleans with Grandfather, at an auction where a bookstore is going up for sale. His friend, the mystery writer, lives there and wants to buy the store. There’s a bidding war and she eventually can’t afford it, but Grandfather steps in and purchases the bookstore, leasing it to her until she can pay him back.
Several other people are interested in the store, or maybe just the books in it. Rumor has it that the old owner had some valuable stamps hidden away in one of the books. As the kids help the new owner clean out the store and set up a book sale (as they do), they try to solve the mystery of who keeps breaking into the store and what all these suspicious characters are up to.
Turns out the valuable stamp was (of course) in the book set that Violet was given, and she gave it back to the store owner to sell and get her business off the ground.
Any book that has to do with books is an automatic winner for me, and this was always one of my favorites. It was an interesting plot and the kids act more like kids, with their detective work overseen by the mystery writer, who gives them tips on sleuthing. I also really like the cover of this one with the subtle placement of Boxcar Children books in the background.
#49 The Mystery of the Stolen Boxcar: It’s Founder’s Day in Greenfield and the kids are super excited for it. They have the brilliant idea of fixing up the old boxcar they used to live in and ride in it for the parade.
When their boxcar is featured in the paper, it brings a bunch of crazies out of the woodwork. First, a train collector offers to buy it very aggressively. Then, a man wants to purchase it so a senator can use it for her re-election tour. A small girl throws a fit because she wants the boxcar as a playhouse.
When the boxcar goes missing out of their backyard, they have a few suspects. They have a bigger problem though, their dog Watch is missing too! They figure out that he was in the boxcar and whoever stole it shut him inside. Luckily, he finds his way home after a day or so.
The kids question the train collector, who doesn’t seem to know anything about it. They try to track down the senator’s assistant, only to find out he’s been fired and the senator knows nothing about a boxcar.
When they run into the bratty child again, she’s going on about her new playhouse and doesn’t seem to like Watch. The kids put two and two together and find their way to their house. The senator’s assistant stole the boxcar to sell to the girl’s rich father to make some quick money. Everything gets straightened out and the kids get to ride the boxcar in the parade.
Something about this book seemed off, especially in the beginning of the book. It was like they got a new ghostwriter who had only read the first book and had a cheat sheet for all other characters and events. The writing is generally for elementary school, so it’s always simple, but it seemed more simple than usual. Also, their cousin Soo Lee was featured again, and this time she only lives a few minutes away from them, when before she lived in a town outside of Greenfield, or on the outskirts of Greenfield. No one has figured out where their family lives yet, despite the fact that there was a book heavily featuring their house.