The Mystery of the Stolen Boxcar by Gertrude Chandler Warner
The Alden Children, Benny, Jessie, Violet, and Henry are well-known by now for solving mysteries and living in a boxcar at one point. Now that box car is their playhouse, but they still solve mysteries.
It’s time for the town’s heritage parade. Anyone can enter a float. As it turns out, the boxcar is an important piece of the town’s history, but when people start hearing about their box car, trouble comes. One man works for a politician and wants to buy the boxcar for a political campaign. Another man came to town on his caboose after reading about the boxcar in a newspaper article. He’s a collector of trains, real trains. Another little girl wants the boxcar for her playhouse. Her father is very rich.
The children plan to enter the boxcar in the parade as their float. They have grand plans for fixing it up, but one morning they discover the boxcar is gone, along with their dog, Watch. Where in the heck is their boxcar?
At first, they suspect the train collector. The train collector denies any involvement in the theft; he also might think it’s just a bit sad that someone stole the boxcar. He’s also allergic to dogs and Watch went wherever the boxcar went. They then suspect the man who works for the politician, but after some sleuthing, it turns out he was fired and no one knows what happened to him or where they went. Watch turns back up, but there’s no sign of the boxcar. It’s not until Watch barks at the spoiled little girl in town, and she says, “I don’t like that dog, he’s barking at me again,” that the children suspect the girl has their boxcar.
They decide to go straight to the source of things and see for themselves whether or not their boxcar is really where they suspect their boxcar to be.
What I liked
I was a fan of the Boxcar Children as a child. I liked seeing what they got into. The idea of children solving mysteries was certainly a novelty. I think it brings into the equation a child’s desire to be listened to and taken seriously. If they solve mysteries, people have to listen to them and take them seriously. I know most of us wanted that as children, I certainly did. It was all too often that someone tsked away our ideas or our thoughts because we were kids, that isn’t to say some of our ideas weren’t stupid, because they were, but some of them actually weren’t so bad.
What I didn’t like
You’ve got to be pretty darn ambitious to steal a boxcar. I almost think if you’re going to steal something that big and that difficult to move and you get caught, they might as well just let you have it because that took a whole lot of effort.
I love Scooby Doo just as much as the rest of you, but the idea of children or teenagers solving mysteries is laughable. It’s great adventure for the kids reading the stories or watching the shows, but it’s not very realistic.
This book was not written by Gertrude Chandler Warner, but I cannot find the author who did write it. See, Gertrude died at some point. In fact, she died in 1979, but this book was published in 1995. The first Boxcar Children book was published ages and ages and ages ago. Most of the more modern books come with the tagline, “Created by Gertrude Chandler Warner.” I would love to give the actual author credit, but I don’t know who it is, so I guess I’ll just say it was Gertrude. You have to admit, it’s pretty cool to be writing and publishing books from the great beyond.
Let’s say you do find your stolen boxcar, you then have to figure out how to get it back to where it was in the first place, it’s almost too much trouble to even deal with.
What would you do if someone stole your boxcar?
Did you ever dream of solving mysteries as a child?