Boxcar Children #5: Mike's Mystery

by Gertrude Chandler Warner

Other authorsDirk Gringhuis (Illustrator)
Paperback, 1990



Local notes

PB War





Albert Whitman & Company (1990), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 128 pages


Juvenile Fiction. Mystery. HTML: The Alden children are visiting Aunt Jane when a nearby house burns down. Their friend Mike is blamed for starting the fire! Can the Aldens help find the real criminal?.


Original publication date


Physical description

128 p.; 7.72 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member hgcslibrary
The Boxcar Children are spending the summer at Mystery Ranch. The excitement begins when they meet their old friend, Mike. When Mike is blamed for starting a fire, the Boxcar Children know he is innocent. Can they discover who's really doing it?
LibraryThing member djenczyk
The gang revisits the URANIUM mine and help figure out who burned a house down. Not surprising, they all live happily ever after. Until the radiation kills them. :-)
LibraryThing member kmjanek
This book is about Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny who go to visit their Aunt Jane’s house over the summer. The is the 5th book in the Boxcar Children series and builds on the 4th book in the series titled “Mystery Ranch”. The mystery in this story is a case of arson. The house by Aunt
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Jane’s burns down, leaving a few clues for the Boxcar Children to solve. Mike is Benny’s friend and the day after Benny met him, his house burned down. Mike is being blamed for the arson, but thankfully his friends are trying to prove his innocence.

It looks like the cover art has been updated to reflect 2012 fashion of t-shirts, jeans and shorts. However, the inside has the original illustrations and text. Some of the language might be a bit old-fashioned for young readers, but the author had created these books as early reader chapter books in the 60’s. I can’t really say anything bad about this book because I used to love them when I was little. The series, written by Gertrude Chandler Warner, was designed for elementary students. The series has won so many awards and been reprinted so many times, I would say it is a good addition to any school or public library. As an adult, the text seems very simplistic…but it is perfect for early readers who are ready to start chapter books. The adventure and mystery is exciting to them. The series will make young readers want to live in a boxcar and solve mysteries.
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LibraryThing member AnnaLovesBooks
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.

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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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½ (88 ratings; 3.6)
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