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Mystery Ranch PDF, ePub eBook Eccentric Aunt Jane needs help on her ranch. The Aldens overturn a plot against her.

30 review for Mystery Ranch

  1. 5 out of 5

    Meredith Buchanan

    This book starts out with a bang, naturally, as Grandfather comes in and slams the door. And then slams another door. And he only said ‘hello,’ to Benny, instead of his normal, long-suffering pandering! That’s how Benny knows something is wrong. He immediately goes to Jessie and Violet with this distressing news, but they don’t know what to do, presumably because they’re girls and this is a man’s problem, so they shout for Henry, who girds his loins and leads the troops down to barge through the This book starts out with a bang, naturally, as Grandfather comes in and slams the door. And then slams another door. And he only said ‘hello,’ to Benny, instead of his normal, long-suffering pandering! That’s how Benny knows something is wrong. He immediately goes to Jessie and Violet with this distressing news, but they don’t know what to do, presumably because they’re girls and this is a man’s problem, so they shout for Henry, who girds his loins and leads the troops down to barge through the second slammed door. Grandfather doesn’t want to talk about it, but are the Alden children going to let someone’s privacy or personal wishes stand in their way? I think not! So, in their usual charmless manner, they force him to tell them about his meaningless troubles. Supposedly this is to repay him for listening to their problems, but I think they’ve been mistaking glazed drunkface for actual concern. Turns out, Grandfather has a sister. The children aren’t surprised they’ve never heard of her because, as Jessie points out, secret relatives constantly turn up, so it isn’t a big deal. The problem is that Grandfather’s sister Jane is a real bitch. She lives on a ranch all by herself, and after running it into the ground with her bad business decisions, has taken to her room and prepared herself for death. Grandfather has tried his normal problem solving solution–throwing money at it–but that hasn’t worked. And now the caretaker, Maggie, is threatening to leave, because (hilariously) Aunt Jane is literally refusing to let her eat anything. I am confused about how a starving and bedridden old lady is able to prevent her able-bodied caretaker from eating, but this doesn’t raise any red flags for the Aldens. Predictably, Jessie and Violet feel that they can fix this in a week. Violet LOVES to care for sick people, and this is women’s work if anything is. Ol’ Gertie wouldn’t want to stray from her beloved stringent gender stereotypes. Grandfather, also predictably, jumps at the chance to rid himself of some grandchildren – he’s already packed Joe and Alice off to Europe (you think that they can pay for this themselves? These are people who spent their honeymoon in a barn where they work), where they are probably going by Oliver and Genevieve and selling the Surprise Island artifacts on the black market for ones of dollars. Sending young girls unsupervised on a train to a sparsely populated area with a possibly mentally unstable old woman? Eh, what the hell. I bet their summer vacation essays are the best. Somehow they make it through the entire train ride (let’s don’t even talk about how giddy they are at the idea of sleeping on the train) without a single mention of the dear old boxcar days. I feel like we should give them a medal for this achievement. Anyway, the most exciting part here is that Jessie and Violet get to smile at a handsome young man. He mysteriously disappears after carrying their bags for them, but we know he’s a good guy because he’s good looking. The bad guys are always unattractive. God made them that way so they’d be easier to spot when etiquette prevents them from wearing their black hats or twirling their mustachios. Maggie picks the girls up from the train station with a horse and wagon, which I found exciting until it was revealed that the horse has one foot in the grave and is so old it isn’t capable of moving faster than a walk. A slow walk. I’m assuming that the horse is also suffering from the moratorium on eating since we hear about how thin he is on a regular basis. I want to go in and stuff sandwiches in all of their mouths. Unfortunately, I don’t think they’d appreciate this nourishing snack since Jessie’s idea of a tasty meal is French toast without the cinnamon, and Violet’s mouth waters at the orange-juice-raw-egg concoction that Jessie whips up for Aunt Jane to tempt her appetite. Several hours after leaving the station (I presume) the trio makes it to the farmhouse, which is wonderful, naturally, and the girls get to meet Aunt Jane. Crotchety Aunt Jane is instantaneously charmed by her grand-nieces. I wish I was exaggerating, but literally, just the sound of their voices warms the cockles of her heart and makes her a better person. Immediately. It’s not a full week before Aunt Jane invites the boys to come stay, and maybe a day later before she signs the entire ranch over to the kids. Most people would bequeath it in their will, but Jane is so enamored of her new relatives that she can’t wait. “I just like you so much, in the like, five days I’ve spent with you, that I’ve decided to sign over everything I own to you. It’d be nice if I could keep living here until I die, but I won’t insist on that, being as how you are all so wonderful and deserve to get everything for free all the time.” Violet has already picked out her room during her and Jessie’s exploration of the house – “Wouldn’t this room be AMAZING if it had VIOLETS on the wall, Jessie?” This is the Alden way of saying, “step back, bitch. DIBS.” I’m a little disappointed how there is zero mention in this book about Violet sewing, drawing, or violining. She folds a tablecloth, but that’s hardly the same thing. Instead, she just nurses old Aunt Jane and talks about how her greatest ambition is to grow up to be a nurse. It’s kind of disheartening how she’s already realized that her only two career choices as a woman in the 20s (or 40s or 50s?) is to be a nurse or a teacher. Or, an overzealous housewife like Jessie. There is also an alarming lack of discussion of the color of anyone’s clothing. It’s a good thing that Benny’s comforting fixation on ham and eggs remains, or I’d suspect that ghostwriters had infiltrated Gertie’s study. Aunt Jane insists that three strange men (that no one has seen) are pressuring her into selling her land. At first I was hoping that this was just the beginning signs of her dementia really setting in, but it turns out that some men were hanging around, camping on her land, and trying to steal her uranium mines! That’s right, this land that Aunt Jane just signed over to the kids, is worth millions of dollars! Except this is the 40′s right? So it’s worth thousands of dollars! Gee these kids sure are lucky, huh? Predictably, all the action of accosting the bad guys happens off camera. We do find out however that Handsome Stranger (aka Mystery Man – Jessie would probably collapse into a blushing fit of giggles every time his name came up if they started calling him Handsome Stranger) from the train is just a guy that Grandfather hired to look for uranium. We are told this in a way that implies that Grandfather just has a random guy out looking for uranium all over the country, and it’s completed unrelated to the enormous field of uranium found on his sister’s ranch. Yes, I’m James Henry Alden, and I have so much money that I’ve budgeted for a personal full-time uranium hunter as a cog in my money-making machine. TYCOON, BITCHES. Uhuh. I can’t help but feel the puppet master at work here. I’m going to take a guess behind-the-scenes in Grandfather’s head: “Oh no grandchildren, I have a difficult problem only you can solve! My sister is very sick and staying at the ranch I grew up on when I was a child. I am very familiar with this ranch, including the strange rocks everywhere, since the fireplace is made out of them and we mention them in every chapter. Won’t you go help my sick old sister who is probably dying of uranium poisoning since she lives in a house made out of uranium? Try to get her to sign over all the property to you before she realizes she’s sitting on a goldmine. Oh thank you grandchildren you’ve solved all my problems! I’m not hoping you’ll also die of uranium poisoning at all!“ Then guess what? Aunt Jane throws herself a birthday party, and she apologizes to Grandfather because he was right, like he always is, and they give her a puppy and everyone laughs and laughs and has a great time. And then they leave Aunt Jane at the ranch to deal with her four new telephones and their operators, the guard, the miners, and the rest of the minions that Grandfather sent in, and they get the hell out of Dodge before that uranium poisoning becomes serious. you can read more Boxcar Children reviews at rampantreads.wordpress.com

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sirena

    The Boxcar Children is one of the first books I remember reading all by my self as a child in the 80's. I loved the Alden's, that much I remember, but I do not remember the stories. Because of that, I decided to re-read at least a few Boxcar Children books. When I went to the library I was amazed at how many episodes there are. There are well over 100! I always thought they went to about 20 or 30. I tried to find some of the first books so I grabbed what I thought was number 3 and 4. What I go The Boxcar Children is one of the first books I remember reading all by my self as a child in the 80's. I loved the Alden's, that much I remember, but I do not remember the stories. Because of that, I decided to re-read at least a few Boxcar Children books. When I went to the library I was amazed at how many episodes there are. There are well over 100! I always thought they went to about 20 or 30. I tried to find some of the first books so I grabbed what I thought was number 3 and 4. What I got was "Special 3" and book 4. I could not make it through Spc. 3. It just didn't seem "right". It wasn't what I remembered. But book 4, well that one felt right. I later found out that Gertrude Chandler Warner only write the first 17 or so books (no specials) and the rest were written by ghost writers. For my taste I say stick with the original. In this episode, the children go out west to stay with their crotchety Great Aunt on her farm. Of course the children, and their dog, Watch, change the the Aunts disposition and...well, the rest is a mystery that you will have to discover yourself. I recommend The Boxcar Children to any child who has not become too jaded by 1st or 2nd grade or anyone that wants a good old-fashioned read. Now, remember, these books were written between the 1920's and 1970's so there are well defined male and female roles. If you see that as a problem, perhaps you should talk with your children about what they are reading and explain that some things have changed, but that good manners and helpfulness are always appreciated. Go. Read. Enjoy.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Theresa Abney

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Really? Uranium? The title of this book should be changed to Aunt Jane's Mystery Illness, because she obviously has radiation poisoning. What a lovely uranium fireplace you have, Aunt Jane. The light really accentuates the third arm growing out of your head!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Octavia Cade

    Good grief. How did these books ever get published? Things have taken a severe downturn since the first book in the series. I mean, I read enough of the Trixie Belden books as a kid to know that children's mystery stories aren't too hot on the plausibility side, but these children are playing in a uranium mine!!! Not to mention the chimney of the house in the ranch their great aunt has given them (for no good reason, because these kids aren't rich enough) is made of uranium ore. Granted, these b Good grief. How did these books ever get published? Things have taken a severe downturn since the first book in the series. I mean, I read enough of the Trixie Belden books as a kid to know that children's mystery stories aren't too hot on the plausibility side, but these children are playing in a uranium mine!!! Not to mention the chimney of the house in the ranch their great aunt has given them (for no good reason, because these kids aren't rich enough) is made of uranium ore. Granted, these books were written decades ago and perhaps Warner didn't have access to the same level of scientific information that we have today, but they have not aged well. Moreover, this one's got a particularly patronising tone. Great aunt Jane is referred to as "little lady" so often I lost count... even by little Benny, upon meeting her, which now I come to think of it... no wonder she sent him to play in a uranium mine. And the implication that she's at fault for the estrangement with her brother because she didn't want to sell her own home... you can fuck right off, Grandfather Alden, for letting your sister fall into loneliness and poverty and not even trying to help her because she didn't do what you wanted as a young woman. Safe to say this is the lowlight of the series thus far. How did these things get to be classics again?

  5. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This started out vastly different from the others I've read. Very old-fashioned sounding, with Henry calling his younger brother Benny "old fellow" and saying "oh dear!" Kids simply don't talk like that, unless they did in the mid-1900s, idk. Maybe kids were allowed more free reign back then, but in this series every time the kids go off alone, or try to handle something a kid shouldn't, I'm just shocked. The grandfather actually let the two girls go off alone on a train, to take care of his sister This started out vastly different from the others I've read. Very old-fashioned sounding, with Henry calling his younger brother Benny "old fellow" and saying "oh dear!" Kids simply don't talk like that, unless they did in the mid-1900s, idk. Maybe kids were allowed more free reign back then, but in this series every time the kids go off alone, or try to handle something a kid shouldn't, I'm just shocked. The grandfather actually let the two girls go off alone on a train, to take care of his sister. Their brothers aren't even going with them. Which I didn't like. Jane said she wanted to meet her brothers grandchildren, which would be all of them. Everything sounded so easy too. They have to look up the train schedule which sounded like it would take a while, but Henry just finds a timetable, as easy as that, doesn't say where he found it. which most ppl probably dk what that is, me included. I've heard of it but what does it look like? Then boom a train leaves at 6:00 tomorrow that would take them there. 'Out west' sounded far away, cuz their in the east. their granddad did say what the nearest town was, but it shouldn't be that easy to find. I found the line 'he watched them carefully as they took a seat together' funny because he's letting them go off alone on a long trip out west. I wish their train ride had been covered in more detail. How long did it take? What did the train look like? The seating? They just noticed a young handsome man, who asked to carry their bags,& knew which ones was theirs, I guess because they were over their seats(?) but it wasn't explained how he knew. And that was the whole train ride. Then a voice says Miss Alden and the girls turn to answer, without describing who's standing there. We know it's Maggie, but what does she look like? What's her age? What's she wearing? She isn't even described. She's just a disembodied voice. With trains, telegrams, timetables and them taking a buggy out of town, I'm left wondering what in the world time frame this is set in. The mystery of their crotchety great aunt is immediately expelled when she thinks 'she couldn't help liking that friendly voice saying "Aunt Jane." No one had talked so kindly to her in years.' Being that this book is apparently going to switch perspectives at random, it's going to take the mystery right out of people. Also, apparently, she's just mean because people have been mean to her,& really just wants some company. Maggie says Aunt Jane has nothing to live for, and that's why she won't get out of bed or eat. How long has this been going on? Did she only recently have to sell off the livestock? The girls notice her door is suddenly shut, meaning she obviously can get out of bed. Then how does she go about making people think she doesn't eat? How can she force her maid not to eat? Maybe because the kids lived on their own in a boxcar they're more resourceful than others, but even them cooking on their own has me raising my brows. They beat eggs in a bowl, then put dry pieces of bread in the eggs and milk, and browns them in a pan. What exactly is this dish? They fix Maggie, a grown woman, supper. Who says "it's the most I have had for two weeks, anyway." Do you not eat at home? Do you stay with Jane 24/7? Do you actually listen to Jane when she won't let you eat? Does Jane actually not eat herself? How are either of them still alive? Violet takes out an orange and says she could drink it herself, while Jesse mixes he orange juice with a beaten egg. So the orange has suddenly turned into orange juice without being juiced. My my, there's some magic going on in jane's kitchen. And once again, what dish is this, with orange juice and an egg? I wish it had been drawn out,& not obvious from the beginning, that their great aunt was really nice deep down and wants company. They said how beautiful the stars are, without saying they were looking out the window. Sam says "Maggie had to eat at our house when she got real hungry." Thank you for answering my question! Sam also says "I hope your aunt will let you eat it after you get it." Which is so bizarre. This whole thing is crazy& I can't imagine what's going on. The writing is sort of awkward. 'Sam watched the three people sit down at the pretty table. He turned and walked quickly out the kitchen door.' Jessie pours hot milk on toast and says with a little salt aunt jane's breakfast is ready. Which sounds like a joke. Like haha let's pour some milk on toast, sprinkle some salt on top and feed it to someone! Of course, she gave it a name, calling it milk toast, so at least I know what it's called. It was nice insight to life back then--whenever then was in this bk--that no one ever gets off the train,& that someday it'll stop coming there because it doesn't pay. They went to the store to buy groceries. It doesn't say how close the store is to the train. The positioning of the town. I have no idea what the town looks like. In the time they're away three men come looking to buy the ranch. She said "you go off riding all over the country and leave me here alone so that anything can happen!" But then violet asks if the three men came into her room Jane says "yes. But don't you worry, my dear. I could manage them." It turns out Jane hasn't eaten a real meal in two years. You'd be wasted away by then! Maybe kids wouldn't guess it, although I give kids more credit than that, but it was obvious the pretty upstairs room used to be Janes. I hate when authors put the same perspective in the same paragraph: 'Jessie was sorry to hear her aunt talk like that. She did not answer. It was the best thing she could have done. Miss Jane was beginning to love the smiles on these two young faces. What could she say to make Jessie's happy again? she wondered.' Benny says "aren't you a cute little lady" which no kid would ever say to an adult. It was weird to constantly reference her as 'the little lady.' At times the writing just stands out so much for being bad. 'Watch almost jumped across the room. He put his paws up on the white bed. "No!" Said violet. "Yes!" Said aunt Jane.' Earlier Jane was glad one of the girls thought the ranch was beautiful, because she's the only one who loved it. Now she's glad the kids asked her advice, because no one had in years. I thought it was sweet how Henry said they wanted to see Sam,& he says he isn't much to look at, and Benny says he thinks he's a very fine-looking man. But odd for a kid to say that. It's ridiculous that the aunt wants to give the ranch to children. Like not when they grow up, but right now when they're kids. And they're just like ok! No qaulms about wondering how to run a ranch, that they'd have to move out west to live there, that their granddad wouldn't own it. The ranch is 1280 acres. How can four children, even with one manager, run all that? It would take a team of people. Sam shows them how to feed chickens, as if that's all that goes into running a ranch. You'd have to take care of the land, cook, clean, farm. It was a touching moment when Jessie said they love her and will take care of her even after they go home, as well as the ranch.& Jane thought no one ever wanted to take care of her. And says she feels safe knowing the ranch will be taken care of by people who love it. I like the part about the Indians, how they used the yellow rocks with black lines on them because they made a fine powder for their sand paintings. They took sand of all colors and painted a nice flat place with colored sand. I wish we knew what tribe they were. It's cute how flustered Jessie and Violet become when they're around the handsome young man, Mr. Carter. It turns out the rocks are uranium, so the indians had been using uranium for their paints. I really liked the line "I work for a man you may have heard of. Mr. Alden of Greenfield." It's cool that their granddad had hired this man to look for uranium. But why did their granddad want to look for it? How did he know it was on the ranch? I don't like that the action took place off the page, though. Mr. Carter had been on the ranch, looking for uranium, saw the three men, and him and Mr. Bates took care of them without the kids knowing. So we don't even get to see the three men ourselves. Carter said "you won't be bothered by them again" without saying what he did. Did Bates arrest them? Carter said he had an eye on them and they couldn't have hurt you, but if he was just hired to look for uranium, how is he qualified to handle three criminals? I didn't care for the line "things always work out all right for us." Of course they do. If only I could say that in real life. Henry says he'll take the letter to Tom Young's house tonight, and I didn't know who Tom was. Men show up to put in telephones, saying they have to put in four, without saying why. And then "I guess you folks don't know what you are in for." Henry goes to town with Watch to call their granddad. I didn't know town was so close you could walk. It's ridiculous when the aunt is talking to the kids and saying your ranch, your table. Grandad says to have Jane decide where the fences should go. That way she could do anything she wanted with the ranch itself. He asks "Do you understand?" And the kid says "you mean we still might want to run the ranch?" I didn't understand that. Shortly after talking to their granddad, two cars pull up, one for the fencing, and the next for the mining. Benny sees two men in a hole with long sticks in their hands and says "those are Geiger counters!" Which completely lost me. The man says "want to hear it?" And I'm thinking hear what? She didn't explain what a Geiger counter was. She said two long sticks. That certainly doesn't feel like you can hear with it. It makes snapping noises and pops, so that's all I know about it. I don't understand if her mom and dad moved east, and her brother wanted to sell the ranch and go into the mill business, and she knew she couldn't run a ranch, cuz she didn't know how, had to let the workers go one by one and then sell the livestock, that was decades ago. How did she survive for decades on her own enough to even keep the ranch? With only Sam as a ranch hand, how has she had the ranch this long? & why only the past two years has she not eaten, or allowed Maggie to eat,& became so cross? Also if she, as a young woman, didn't know anything about ranching, why does she think four young kids will know? It's crazy with three sentences of the story, violet says "I begin to understand" and I'm thinking idk how you are, because there's a lot of pieces that need to fall into place for this to make sense. She tells that short version of the story, without explaining anything else, and then violet likes I'm glad you told me. I'll help you to bed now. Um, this story isn't anywhere near to completion. Forget bedtime! Things happen fast on the alden ranch. So fast that in a few weeks a mine was dug, houses for workmen were built. New stores were opened in town, and the train wasn't taken off. That's a lot of progress. Decades worth of fighting and bad feelings on both sides are cleared up when Jane says she wants him at her birthday party. She says "just come and forgive me for everything." And he says "nothing to forgive." Their fight is over just like that. Are you kidding me? They needed to talk it over. He asks if Jane wants to hear his plan and she says "it seems funny, doesn't it? I never would listen to you before." Yes, everything is just getting swept under the rug. You don't go from not communicating to suddenly getting along. Him and his sister say a few words and then Alden asks to speak to Henry alone. You just saw your sister after years apart!! The fireplace turns out to be of uranium ore, with silver and gold in it, but Alden says the silver and gold is not good. Idk what that means. They said the fireplace was a mystery, and they didn't know about the fields, or who the Mystery Man was, and they should call it Mystery Ranch. It just hit me how ill-fitting the name was. This wasn't a mystery at all! Just because you don't know what something is, doesn't mean it's a mystery. They had seventy candles on her cake, which would be impossible to do. Jane has all of a sudden upgraded to the 'pretty little lady.' It ends with them giving aunt Jane her presents, and a dog to help watch over the place, which was nice. But this just opens a whole world of questions. Yes, Sam and his wife Annie are moving into the house, and Maggie can stay on. But is that so different from before? How will the ranch prosper? Are they selling the ore? Is that how they're suddenly going to prosper and jane can actually eat now? Idt the author realized that she didn't even answer what she created. So the ranch failed, but how was she able to live there so long? Did she only recently fire the last ranch hand? That's an awful long time, from a young woman to an old one, to keep a ranch running when you dk what you're doing. Why couldn't she eat food Maggie fixed, and why wouldn't she let Maggie herself eat? That's the biggest mystery in this book, not the man from the train, or the fireplace, and it's still a mystery because it wasn't even addressed in the end. This was a fail as a mystery, and it wasn't even a good book. Now the kids have signed on to the ranch, meaning they'll have to live there when they're older. I knew Alden and his sister were on good terms because of the Halloween special I read, but I didn't know their makeup was going to happen so miraculously. If only real families could patch things up so easily. I love the kid that used the back of this book for their times tables. Thanks for marking in it! This was originally published 1958, which makes sense because I knew this had to be old. This copy is from 1986. Unfortunately, this just wasn't good, and will be returning to the library I bought it from.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Annette

    Review by Grace, age 8, 1/5/19 This is a book about Jesse and Violet going to see their Aunt Jane who never gets out of bed and hasn't eaten for two years. Their aunt is very strict and she told the neighbor Maggie that she didn't want Maggie to take care of her anymore, she wanted her brother's grandchildren to take care of her. So Violet and Jesse did. And they met a mystery man (as their brother Benny would call it) on the train. After they had taken care of her for a while, the aunt gave the Review by Grace, age 8, 1/5/19 This is a book about Jesse and Violet going to see their Aunt Jane who never gets out of bed and hasn't eaten for two years. Their aunt is very strict and she told the neighbor Maggie that she didn't want Maggie to take care of her anymore, she wanted her brother's grandchildren to take care of her. So Violet and Jesse did. And they met a mystery man (as their brother Benny would call it) on the train. After they had taken care of her for a while, the aunt gave the kids her ranch. * they go the ranch * there is a mystery about the ranch * three men want to get the ranch, but tell Aunt Jane that it is a horrible place. No-one knows why the men want it. * They find out that the ranch has something important on it that the men want. * They stop the men from getting it, because Aunt Jane was only willing to give the ranch to someone who really loved it. The reason I like these books so much is because they're "survival" books and the kids - even kids who are not just boys - get to do exciting, important things. I don't think the boys could have survived without Jesse and Violet. They can hunt, but they can't cook! (Insert pause for Mom to lecture at length on the dangers of conflating equality of Value - both to God and each other - with equality of Role.) ---------------------------------------- Mom's note: After reading the first two Boxcar books aloud to my children a few years ago, I determined that waiting until they were old enough to read for themselves was best for all of us. I can barely stand them - pulp full of perfect children, overly-romanticized... well, everything, and increasingly unbelievable situations. They are perfectly harmless, and maybe even positive, but I can't read them.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    Boxcar children? More like rich mansion children.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Neva

    this book was AWESOME!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ben

    Gertrude chandler Warner novel Mystery Ranch is fiction and is exciting. I liked the story because It was about them going out west to a ranch for a summer vacation. The main characters are Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny. At the nod of the story they finally solved the mystery and went home. I recommend this book to people who like mysteries.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Tina Harden

    The plot in this title may not shine as bright as the others but it does still have a good "takeaway", RESPECT. Pure and simple. An old bitter lady who does nothing but disrespect her caretakers is changed through the respect given to her by the children. A rift between brother and sister that has lasted decades is repaired through respect. This is a good title to use when looking to teach young children about respecting others, even when faced with harsh words and bad attitude from people.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kianna

    i will never pick up one of these books again in my life. when i was in elementary my brain almost blasted listening to my teacher read these books. Never read these books to your children! i am so serious. i promise you they will be bored out of there lives!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Cherie In the Dooryard

    Yaaaawn. Form a parent perspective, this was the most boring of the Boxcar Children series yet. No suspenseful details, no mini-mystery, no tension. The kids seemed to like it, but what do they know?

  13. 5 out of 5

    J

    Originally published in 1958. Charming. Elizabeth loves this series! Short and easy read for children. The new setting, lively new side characters and mystery elements kept it interesting for me as an adult. I read the book in one sitting in about 75 minutes. I LOVED the old fashioned fonts and illustrations inside the book. (The library copy has this colorful drawing on the hardcover. But, the modern paperback set we bought has hideous modern/reimagined illustrations on the covers. What a traves Originally published in 1958. Charming. Elizabeth loves this series! Short and easy read for children. The new setting, lively new side characters and mystery elements kept it interesting for me as an adult. I read the book in one sitting in about 75 minutes. I LOVED the old fashioned fonts and illustrations inside the book. (The library copy has this colorful drawing on the hardcover. But, the modern paperback set we bought has hideous modern/reimagined illustrations on the covers. What a travesty!) My husband had a big problem with the fact that they had a uranium field and a uranium ore chimney fireplace. He said the series jumped the shark here and that in reality they would all be dead. It is briefly mentioned that Henry drives a car in this book. How old are the children now? I assume each book is a new summer, but this is never explicitly stated. The author's information on the last page provided a lot of interesting information. It mentioned that Gertrude Chandler Warner wrote the first 19 books in the series herself. The rest must be ghost writers. CHILD-FRIENDLY RATING: Synopsis: Jessie and Violet agree to visit their elderly Aunt Jane on her ranch over the summer and help care for her. Eventually, Henry, Benny and Watch join them and adventures ensue. Target Age: Story suitable for all ages. Reading level targeted at age 8-10. Spiritual Content: Nothing explicit - the characters do not attend church, pray or talk about God. (Days of the week are not stated, so there is no scandal of missing Sunday mass.) However, the children do exhibit old fashioned morals and values. They are patient and respectful with a cranky/mean old aunt and win her over with kindness. Sexual Content: None Violent Content: None Vulgar Language/Situations: None Drugs/Alcohol: None Other Positive or Negative Elements: The children are resourceful, independent, helpful and unfailingly polite. They are excellent influences for young readers.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Devann

    Ok I try not to give low ratings to children's books because I usually figure that any complaints I might have would not really be an issue if I was a younger reader, and I loved this series when I was a child but this one was just really not good. I mean first of all the whole 'missing or estranged relatives' plotline is getting REALLY OLD now so I hope we are heading more into the stuff that I remember soon, but also there is not really any mystery here at all ...or I guess there maybe is but t Ok I try not to give low ratings to children's books because I usually figure that any complaints I might have would not really be an issue if I was a younger reader, and I loved this series when I was a child but this one was just really not good. I mean first of all the whole 'missing or estranged relatives' plotline is getting REALLY OLD now so I hope we are heading more into the stuff that I remember soon, but also there is not really any mystery here at all ...or I guess there maybe is but the kids do not in any way 'solve' it. They just kind of hang around with their grumpy aunt for awhile and then some random dude shows up to explain that he's solved the entire plot while they were once again cooking really weird food. I'm so glad I didn't grow up in the 40's or 50's ...for many reasons really but also everything they eat sounds awful. Anyway then the aunt literally signs over her entire ranch to them, as if they weren't already filthy rich enough. It's obviously nothing that I thought about as a child but I wonder what the wealth distribution was like during this time period because reading it from a 21st century American standpoint it's kind of sickening how easy these kids have it [not that kids shouldn't have it easy, I just mean it's very uncommon today]. Also ...its uranium just not as dangerous as I thought it was or did they just not know it was dangerous at this time? Because she's literally got a uranium fireplace and they're just walking around in fields of it touching it and stuff and I'm like ???? That's bad right ???? I don't know, the whole thing was just bizarre, even by Boxcar Children standards.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Colleen

    I'm re-reading through my collection for the nostalgia. I have to wonder how these "mysteries" captivated me as a kid- as an adult I'm just not a believer most of the time. Aunt Jane just magically changing personality because these girls are just that good, her giving over a ranch to 4 children, her ability to keep everyone else from doing anything- it just didn't fit. Don't get me wrong- for what it is (a sophisticated, engaging graded reader) this book does quite well. But it's mystery is pro I'm re-reading through my collection for the nostalgia. I have to wonder how these "mysteries" captivated me as a kid- as an adult I'm just not a believer most of the time. Aunt Jane just magically changing personality because these girls are just that good, her giving over a ranch to 4 children, her ability to keep everyone else from doing anything- it just didn't fit. Don't get me wrong- for what it is (a sophisticated, engaging graded reader) this book does quite well. But it's mystery is probably the weakest of the original 4.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Nessler

    The 4th installment in The Boxcar Children series. More mystery as the family connections grow for the Alden children. Their lives seem like they are plucked straight out of Mayberry themselves. Everyone is chipper, respectful, and breathtaking. It is refreshing to read such a touching series. I know I read many of these in my younger days but re-reading them has been a delight giving me such a sweet glimpse of my past. I am so glad that I am a book nerd!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I felt like the mystery in this one was kind of weak. The whole uranium mine thing was weird. The children's role in reconciling family members was cool but also seemed too easy. Also, that creepy Mystery Man... I really hope it's not what I think and that they are grooming Jessie to be his future bride. Please no. All that said, my boys seemed to enjoy it just fine.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Vernon Area Public Library KIDS

    The mystery journey continues! This time, Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny visit a ranch to take care of their aunt. But, not everything on the ranch is as it seems. Another fun-filled adventure mystery in the Boxcar Children Series that you won’t want to miss. Recommended for grades 2-4. Lexile level: 440 Reviewed by Christine Hwang, Youth and School Services, Vernon Area Public Library

  19. 5 out of 5

    Rochelle

    I love reading this series with my kids. They all love them from age 6 to 11. They are clean and wholesome and teach about sibling and family love and devotion as well as manage to be intriguing to young minds.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey

    You can tell this was written in the cold war. Never seen children so excited about uranium. Rich kids get richer by pure luck. Of course the woman ends up apologizing at the end of the book. Reading these as an adult is quite interesting.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    I loved the first Boxcar book, but the more I read of the series, the less enchanted I become. I would love to see one of the children have an imperfection or quirk, but the characters, as well as the plots, are pretty flat and predictable.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kaitlin Moore

    WHY ARE THE KIDS ALWAYS SHOUTING AT EACH OTHER?? They are the most aggressive passive aggressive kids I've ever come across.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ashle Oaks

    This book seems more dated than the last two in the series did. There isn’t really a mystery in this book but it’s still a charming story.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Juli

    Read this to my 5 and 3 year old boys. They enjoyed it, and I enjoyed the experience of reading it with them, even though I didn't love the book itself.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    Love this classic series! Only read the first three and am slowly collecting the others.

  26. 4 out of 5

    David Westerveld

    Read aloud to the kids. Good classic book.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

    Another fun mystery for the grandsons !!!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Colleen Hansen

    Shorter than the others we've read, but the kids are enjoying them!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Gina

    Really enjoyed this one. Even strange Aunt Jane.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Aimee

    I liked the book. I would give this book 3.7 stars. I liked the pictures in the book. I would like to read the next book in the series.

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