Throwback Book Review: Boxcar Children #50 and 53

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.

#50 Mystery In The Cave: The Aldens are going spelunking! Their Aunt Jane has a friend who runs tours in an underground cave system, so the kids are staying in the area for a week to go exploring. But it wouldn’t be the Boxcar Children without a mystery or two… or three.

On their first trip into the caves, they run into a man who seems upset that they’re down there. This becomes a trend as they see a woman trying to shoo them out of the caves as well, along with a pair of men who seem to be troublemakers.

Despite setbacks like missing equipment and getting lost, the kids continue exploring and find some sinkholes that lead to new caves. They discover the first man’s man cave, literally, where he goes to escape from it all and do a bit of reading. The woman is searching for silver in the rocks of the cave, and the two men heard about a treasure from an old bank robbery hidden in the caves, and were trying to scare everyone away so they could find it for themselves.

As far as mysteries go, this one wasn’t all that interesting. The two men were crooks who recently got out of jail, but the only things they did were steal a raft and a headlamp, and cause the kids to get lost in a cave for a while.

What We Missed: #51 The Mystery on the Train, the kids go on a train for the first time and someone is trying to steal another passenger’s portfolio; #52 The Mystery of the Lost Mine, where they look for a lost gold mine in Arizona.

#53 The Guide Dog Mystery: The kids run into a guide dog passing her final exam while they’re out shopping and are instantly intrigued. The woman in charge knows their grandfather (of course) and invites the kids to the guide dog school for a while. They shadow Jason, a guide dog trainer, and help him out with the dogs.

The newly graduated golden retriever is paired up with a blind girl, Anna, and the Aldens help her adjust to having a guide dog. Except someone really wants to get Ginger, the dog, for themselves. A man offers to buy her for a show dog, and her previous foster owner keeps popping up unexpectedly.

Strange things start happening at the school, with keys going missing, strange figures around the kennel, break ins, and ultimately the kidnap of Ginger. Jason has some strange moments, so the kids suspect him of some of the weirdness, but the mystery is quickly solved when Ginger shows back up when her former owner and her driver is around: her driver stole a diamond bracelet and hid it in Ginger’s collar and was trying to retrieve it.

I liked this one a lot better, I like the books where the kids learn about something new and convey it to the audience in a non-preachy way, and they act like kids, not like going spelunking in random caves under the supervision of a 14 year old.

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