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The Mystery of the Stolen Snowboard (The Boxcar Children Series #134)

The Mystery of the Stolen Snowboard (The Boxcar Children Series #134)

by Gertrude Chandler Warner, Tim Jessell

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The winter sports season is here, and the Aldens are excited about all the snow activities—especially snowboarding! But soon they find themselves in the middle of a mystery surrounding a star athlete and a stolen snowboard!


The winter sports season is here, and the Aldens are excited about all the snow activities—especially snowboarding! But soon they find themselves in the middle of a mystery surrounding a star athlete and a stolen snowboard!

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Allison Fetters
Tension is in the air when the Alden’s arrive at the snowboarding competition in Hidden Hills. Certain community members of Hidden Hills are frightened by what big events will do to their community and several of them are out to protect what is theirs. People are acting strange and before the Alden’s know it, someone has stolen Clayton Hollow’s snowboard, just another example in the story of people going out of their way to sabotage others for their own gain. The Alden’s pool their talents once again to help out friends in need wasting no time in solving the mystery so Clayton can continue to pursue his snowboarding dreams. The children also use their enthusiasm and positive influence to change those around them for the better. The book emphasizes cooperation among family and friends to do what is right for the people and community. The Alden’s are positive examples that could easily lead to conversations with young readers regarding the importance of doing what is right in all situations. Part of the “Boxcar Children” series. Reviewer: Allison Fetters; Ages 9 to 12.

Product Details

Whitman, Albert & Company
Publication date:
Boxcar Children Series , #134
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.40(h) x 0.60(d)
610L (what's this?)
Age Range:
7 - 10 Years

Read an Excerpt

The Mystery of the Stolen Snowboard



Copyright © 2014 Albert Whitman & Company
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4804-7573-1


Hidden Hills

"Turn here." Henry Alden checked the map. "We need to take a left on Evergreen Road."

"There's no sign," Grandfather Alden said.

"Are you certain?" Henry had been directing them through the rugged mountains for the past hour. The GPS didn't work because they had no phone service.

"I think that big tree marks the street," Henry told Grandfather.

"An evergreen pine." Jessie pushed back her long brown hair and pointed at the tree, its thick branches dripping with heavy snow. "That makes sense."

"I wish there was a real street sign," six-year-old Benny said from the backseat. "I don't want to get lost." He shivered. "How much longer?" A loud grumbling sound came from his tummy.

Jessie was twelve, six years older than Benny. She held his hand to make him feel better. "We'll be there soon," she told him. "Don't worry."

"I'm not worried," Benny said. "I'm hungry." He stared out the window at the lightly falling snow and frowned.

"You're always hungry," Jessie said with a laugh. She handed him a small bag filled with raisins.

While Benny snacked, Henry reviewed the map again. "I'm positive this is the correct way." They made another turn at a large rock. "Clayton warned me that it was hard to find the town."

"Hidden Hills sure is hidden." Violet looked up from her art and straightened her pigtails. She'd just finished quick sketches of the snowy pine tree and ice-covered rock.

Although she was only ten years old, Violet was a keen observer and saw details that others sometimes missed. Glancing down at her sketch pad, Violet made sure she had drawn the angle of the sun correctly. She erased one line and fixed another to get it perfect.

"The town should be around this next bend," Henry said. Grandfather took a slow turn to the right and crossed over a short bridge with a frozen river underneath.

"Look!" Jessie leaned up in her seat and read the small sign ahead of them. "Established 1882." She'd read about Hidden Hills on the Internet. Jessie liked to research. "This used to be a mining town," she told the others. "There were silver mines all over the area."

"And now it's home to the first Super Snowboard Classic." At fourteen, Henry was usually much more mature than his brother or sisters, but seeing a few small buildings in the distance, he clapped his hands and cheered. "This is very exciting. I'm glad Clayton invited us to see him snowboard this weekend. It's going to be so much fun!"

Henry Alden and Clayton Hollow had met at school in Greenfield. They'd been keeping in touch since Clayton left town to travel the globe, competing to become one of the greatest teenage snowboarders in the world. When he announced that he was coming to Hidden Hills, Henry asked Grandfather if they could go. The mountain town was only a few hours' drive from home and this was an important tournament. The top four snowboarders would qualify for a brand-new elite training camp.

Watch, Jessie's wire-haired terrier, had come along too. He was in the backseat next to Benny. They were sitting with their noses pressed against the window. "It's cold out there, Henry," Benny reported as his breath fogged up the glass.

"Snowboarding is a winter sport." Henry passed Benny a scarf and hat. "It's supposed to be cold."

"I wish Clayton liked summer sports," Benny said. "We could have gone to the beach instead."

Jessie giggled. "We can get some hot chocolate right after we check into the hotel if you want."

"And cookies?" Benny asked.

"Of course." Jessie ruffled her brother's dark brown hair.

Violet sharpened a fresh black charcoal pencil, then made new pictures of each of the shops they saw: a bakery, a bank, a restaurant called Burger Bonanza, the Coffee Hut, a medical clinic, and finally, at the end of the street, a three-story redbrick hotel. She looked around for other stores to put into her sketch pad. "Is that it?" she asked. "Where's the rest of the city?"

"You've seen it all," Henry replied. "Some houses are tucked away behind the trees. There's a school and a grocery store about thirty miles away in the next town."

"Greenfield used to be a small town, just like this," Grandfather said. "It was a long time ago, before any of you children were born, but I remember when I was a child, there was only one paved street."

"I don't believe you!" Benny exclaimed, his eyes wide. "No way!"

"It's true," Grandfather said. "When we get back home, I'll show you pictures."

Jessie, Violet, Henry, and Benny lived with their grandfather. After their parents died, they had run away and hid in a railroad boxcar in the woods. They heard that Grandfather Alden was mean. Even though they'd never met him, they were afraid. But when he finally found the children, they discovered he wasn't mean at all. Now the children lived with him, and their boxcar was a clubhouse in the backyard.

"We're here." Grandfather parked the car in front of the hotel. "Let's go check into our rooms."

While they gathered their bags, a man in a heavy coat and earmuffs under a wool hat came rushing toward them. "Get out of town!" he shouted. "Go away."

Henry pushed his brown hair out of his eyes and stepped forward. "Excuse me?" he asked politely. "I don't understand. We're here for the snowboarding competition—"

"You aren't welcome!" The man forced a yellow flyer into Henry's hands. He poked a long finger at the printed words. "Majestic Mountain must be stopped! Read this and you'll understand why."

Henry glanced down and scanned it. "What's Majestic Mountain?"

"It's the worst idea in history," the man said, stomping his boot. "Name's Ralph Fellows," he said, introducing himself. "I own the Coffee Hut, but more importantly I'm also president of the Save Hidden Hills Committee."

"Nice to meet you, Mr. Fellows." Jessie held out her hand to shake his.

He pulled back, shoving a flyer into her hand instead. "The organizers of this snowboard event want to create their training camp right here in Hidden Hills. Just imagine it! They'll ruin the environment." He gave Benny, Violet, and Grandfather flyers too. "Snowboarding will be just the beginning. They'll cut down the trees to make more hotels, chase away the animals to make more slopes for skiing, and carve away ancient rock formations for an ice-skating rink. More activities mean more restaurants. That means trash, terrible traffic, crowded shops, and"—he gasped and lowered his voice—"they even want to build an airport."

"But what's Majestic Mountain?" Benny repeated Henry's question.

"He wrote about it on the flyer," Jessie told Benny after scanning the page. "If there's a permanent training camp here, the city won't be called Hidden Hills anymore. The people in charge want to change the name to Majestic Mountain." She glanced down at the flyer. "Mr. Fellows wrote that in the 1800s when the silver mines were all used up, the miners hitched their horses and moved away. They left their trash, rusted equipment, and broken, deserted shacks behind."

"Took a hundred years to clean it up and another hundred for the trees to grow back," Mr. Fellows said. "If this place becomes a sporting town, it'll never be the same!" He moaned. "Now get out of here. You have to go away."

Grandfather moved between Mr. Fellows and the children. "You are entitled to your opinion," he said. "But you cannot threaten us."

Mr. Fellows was about to reply when two people came running out of the hotel.

"Stop!" a man shouted. He was wearing a heavy coat with Sheriff printed on the back and waving a badge. "Stop! Police!"

"Hiya, Tommy." Mr. Fellows turned and greeted the officer casually as though they'd known each other a long time.

"There he is." The hotel manager was with the sheriff. "I saw him at the hotel. Ralph Fellows was the one who threw the paint." She pointed at Mr. Fellows. "There is a display of the plans for Majestic Mountain and the new snowboard training camp in the lobby. I watched him mess up the drawings and vandalize the model buildings."

"You've gone too far this time, Ralph," the sheriff said. "We've known each other for years, but you know I can't let you get away with wrecking other people's property. I'm going to have to take you down to the station." The sheriff stepped forward, holding out a pair of handcuffs.

Mr. Fellows began to laugh. His deep, rumbling laughter echoed off the tall, snow-covered mountains. "Be sure to recycle those flyers," he told the Aldens. Then he ran down the street.



After checking into their room, Jessie, Violet, and Benny went to get hot chocolate, while Henry headed toward the snowboarding slope. He wanted to catch up with Clayton.

When he passed through the lobby, Henry noticed that the mess Mr. Fellows had made was all cleaned up. Whatever paint he'd tossed around was washable. The trash was gone and everything seemed in place. The hotel manager, Martha, smiled and waved at Henry as he went outside.

Henry easily found his friend standing at the bottom of the only chairlift in Hidden Hills. Clayton was wearing ski pants, a heavy jacket, and thick boots, and his long blond hair stuck out from under his bright orange helmet. His snowboard leaned against a nearby wooden fence.

"Hi. I'm so glad you made it," Clayton said. "You're just in time. I'm heading up for the first run of the day."

Henry raised a hand over his eyes to better see the slope of the mountain in front of them. "Looks dangerous," he commented. "That's a steep trail coming down."

"This is one of the most difficult mountain terrains in the world," Clayton said. "It's got a long vertical slope, where we do the racing events, but it also has a great half-pipe." He pointed to a spot about halfway up the mountain where the snow had been carved out to look like a big letter U.

Henry had seen Clayton boarding on the half-pipe in Internet videos. Sliding from edge to edge, Clayton would gain speed and then do spins and tricks as he soared off the open walls of the U.

Clayton was so good he even had a flip combo named after him—the Hollow. It was amazing to watch.

Jessie, Violet, and Benny joined them with their cups of hot chocolate. Violet was holding Watch's leash.

"Are you going to do the Swallow trick today?" Benny asked Clayton.

Henry laughed. "It's Hollow, Benny. The trick is named after Clayton's last name."

"Oh good," Benny said, raising his cup to his lips. "We can name a swallow trick after me then." He took a big sip of hot chocolate and gulped it down. "De-li-cious!"

Everyone laughed.

"You keep practicing, Benny," Clayton told him. He grabbed his snowboard. "I better go. The first race is about to begin. I really want to win a spot in the training camp."

"Good luck," Benny told him.

"We're doing an event today called a slalom," Clayton explained. "I need to go as fast as I can down the mountain and zigzag between thirty different flagpoles. Each snowboarder takes a turn. Then the fastest time wins the race."

"We'll be watching—" Violet began but then Watch started barking at a girl dressed in snowboarding clothes. She was carrying a shiny bright pink board.

"Hurry up, Clayton," the girl said, pushing past him toward the chairlift. "We need to get to the starting gate." The girl pointed at a large man in a black jacket standing at the top of the chairlift. "My coach expects me to win one of the camp spots. You know there are only four places and five snowboarders. Not everyone will get a spot."

"You're a great snowboarder, Mercedes," Clayton said with a laugh. "You've been training since the day you were born. Coach McNaught should stop nagging you. You'll go to the elite camp for sure."

"Coach warned that you might beat me today." She placed her helmet over her shoulder-length dark hair and tightened the strap. "I think he's trying to scare me."

"Is it working?" Clayton asked. He narrowed his eyes and snarled. "If I scare you, do you think you might fall and lose some points? Maybe hit a flag?" He smiled. "I mean, I don't want you to get hurt, but I'd love to see my name above yours on the scoreboard."

"Fat chance." Mercedes laughed. "I'll beat you in both events today. I'm feeling lucky." And with that, she jumped onto the chairlift and headed up the mountain.

"Wow," Henry said, letting out a big breath. "She's mean."

Clayton smiled. "Nah. She's teasing me. Mercedes is my friend."

Henry took one last look at Mercedes's new shiny board as the chairlift carried her up the mountain. Clayton's yellow board, on the other hand, was dented and scratched. It was old and had little chips out of the side.

Jessie said, "I recognized her. Mercedes Moon is a really popular snowboarder. She's been on magazine covers and has videos all over the Internet."

"She can't be better than you, Clayton," Benny said. "You're the best snowboarder I know."

"I work hard at it," Clayton replied. "I'm not the best yet, but if I can get into the training camp—I might be someday." He went on, saying, "All the boarders here are pretty equal in skill." Clayton put on his gloves. "But, out of everyone, Mercedes will be the toughest one to beat. Her parents spend a lot of money on her training. Her coach is a world champion gold medalist. And Mercedes uses the most expensive equipment." He tapped a finger on his board. "Of course, I have Yellow Bessie, here, and maybe, just maybe, Mercedes is wrong. It might turn out that today is my lucky day!"

An empty chair came around the lift. Clayton jumped on it and waved as he moved up the mountain toward the starting gate.

The Aldens headed for the viewing area at the side of the slope. From their seats on metal stadium benches, the Aldens had a great view of the whole mountain.

Suddenly, Benny screamed and jumped up from the bench. "Augh!" He dropped his hot chocolate to the ground below and it immediately melted the snow.

"What's going on?" Henry asked Benny. He picked up Benny's cup and tossed it into the trash.

"There! Over there!" Benny could barely catch his breath. His finger shook as he pointed to the trees across from where they were standing. "Did you see it, Henry? Did you, Violet? How about you, Jessie?"

"No," they all said. "We didn't see anything."

"Did you see it, Watch?" Benny asked.

The dog flopped down in the snow and looked bored.

"You have to believe me," Benny told them all. "Over there—on the other side of the snowboard slope—there was a yeti! It was like Bigfoot, only all white." His voice dropped to a whisper. "I saw a TV show all about yetis. They are these huge hairy monsters that some people think live in snowy mountain areas"—he looked around—"just like Hidden Hills." He went on, "Most people think yetis are just legends, but now I know they exist."

"I don't know ..." Jessie said, putting a hand over her eyes to see farther into the woods.

"Well, whatever it was," Henry said, "It's gone now." He squinted toward the trees then raised his head toward the mountaintop. "Here comes Clayton."

Clayton Hollow rocketed down the mountain.

Everyone was cheering, stomping, and making noise.

Red and blue triangle flags were planted close together. Clayton turned tightly, tipping on the edge of his snowboard as he rotated around each one. Jessie and Violet were jumping up and down and clapping their hands as Clayton sped down the course. Henry was shouting, "Go! Go! Go!"

"Wow! That was fast," Benny said when Clayton reached the bottom. He hadn't even had time to eat a whole piece of beef jerky before the race was over.

The cheering fans went wild when Clayton whipped off his hat and slowed to a stop near the chairlift.

"That was exciting," Violet said.

"Here comes the next racer," Henry said, looking back up at the mountaintop. "It's Mercedes."

Mercedes and the other snowboarders each took their turns on the course. The boarders were fast and skilled. The Aldens cheered for them, but they all really hoped Clayton would win.

After the race, the competing snowboarders gathered at the bottom of the mountain and stacked their boards by the chairlift. Clayton left his helmet sitting in the snow, and they walked together to see their official speeds and final ranks. Each snowboarder's score would be added together at the end of the third race, and the four boarders with the highest scores would get to go to the camp.

Mercedes had a perfect run and came in first place.

Clayton came in second. His time was only one second behind hers.

Patricia Gutierrez and Jasper Novak took third and fourth place.

Hyun Lee had hit an icy patch halfway down and missed two important turns. He lost a lot of points and finished last.

"Congratulations," Jessie told Clayton. "Second place!"

"I'm really happy," Clayton said with a grin. "It was a fantastic morning!

"I feel bad about Hyun," he added. "But he's younger than me. If he doesn't make it this year, he can go to the training camp next year. They aren't taking anyone older than fifteen, so this is my only chance." He held up crossed fingers. "Let's hope I do well in the next race!"

"I drew a picture of you coming down the mountain." Violet showed him her art. Clayton looked like a blur in the center of the white page. "It's kind of messy," she said, pointing to the lines she drew to show the wind off his orange helmet.

"I love it," Clayton said, taking the artwork. "Thanks."

Benny noticed Mercedes walking away from the chairlift with her pink snowboard. It was the first time he'd seen her since the race. He rushed over and stopped her.

"You were very speedy today," he said. "Good job." He held out his bag of beef jerky. "I bet all that exercise made you hungry. Want a snack?"


Excerpted from The Mystery of the Stolen Snowboard by GERTRUDE CHANDLER WARNER. Copyright © 2014 Albert Whitman & Company. Excerpted by permission of ALBERT WHITMAN & Company.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Gertrude Chandler Warner was born in 1890 in Putnam, Connecticut, where she taught school and wrote The Boxcar Children because she had often imagined how delightful it would be to live in a caboose or freight car. Encouraged by its success, she went on to write eighteen more stories about the Alden children.

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