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Most Helpful Critical Review
Posted January 29, 2002
Posted August 8, 2008
ISBN 0807551414 - The Boxcar Children series became a quick favorite for me when I discovered them - decades after their first publication! The language is a bit stilted, I assume that's partially because the books were written in the 1950s and 1960s and people simply spoke more correctly. The children return to the ranch they own to visit Aunt Jane and see all the changes that have taken place in the past year. The first person they run into is Mike Wood, a boy they met on Surprise Island. Benny and Mike immediately take to bickering with one another again, but they're all on the same side when Mike's house is burned to the ground. It appears to be arson and a rumor starts that Mike was the cause of the fire, but the children know better - and they want to catch the man who did it before he causes even more destruction. It's nice to see that the author has connected two previous books (Surprise Island (Boxcar Children) and Mystery Ranch (Boxcar Children)) to this one, for the continuity and because kids will enjoy recognizing characters beyond the Alden children. Illustrations by Dirk Gringhuis are nice, not spectacular. For funny, and one thing kids might miss, there's some astonishment that the kids are being picked up at the train station by Maggie, driving a car, as if cars - and women driving them! - are very unusual. The copyright is 1960, so they probably were less common, but it's still amusing. Mike's Mystery shares a message about helping others, as well as being fun entertainment. RL3, ages 7-12. - AnnaLovesBooks
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Posted June 8, 2009
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