Title: The Boxcar Children Ghost-Hunting Special
Created by: Gertrude Chandler Warner
2015 – KidLit – Mystery
The Story: In this compilation, the Boxcar Children take on three mysteries – The Mystery of the Midnight Dog, The Ghost at the Drive-In Movie, and The Return of the Graveyard Ghost. Their detective skills will be put to the test as a small town is plagued by a ghost dog, the owner of a drive-in theater faces pranks and shady business deals, and a town ghost brings bad luck on anyone who doesn’t leave a gift at her grave.
The Opening Line (The Mystery of the Midnight Dog): “Look! It looks just like a dinosaur!”
Thoughts: The Boxcar Children books were a huge part of my childhood. Early on, my grandma and aunt read to me often, and I never lacked for books. I had shelves overflowing with books, as well as a love for the public library fostered by my grandma taking me to story time every single week, some weeks multiple times. So it was natural that I should discover and start collecting the Boxcar Children books and also natural that they continue to influence me to this day.
Case in point, I remember the first time I read the entry in which the kids go to a working ranch/farm thing where they work with horses, help in the kitchen, and do chores around the farm. I remember reading a section in which they’re having lunch (food is always mentioned because Benny is always hungry!), and the kids talked about how good the homemade cheese and tomato sandwiches were. Well, that immediately intrigued me, so from that point on I was obsessed with cheese and tomato sandwiches. I still eat them on occasion.
I’m also a big mystery fan, something that stretches all the way to those days of reading Boxcar Children, Nancy Drew, and the Hardy Boys. The Boxcar Children mysteries were so unique because each one was set in a different location with a ton of different characters. I always felt as though I was learning something as I read, plus I’m sure trying to solve the mysteries helped me develop some critical thinking skills.
In short, I love the Boxcar Children. This specific compilation follows the same formulas, but is still fun, inventive, and super nostalgic. Reading it took me right back to my childhood – I just can’t imagine a world ever in which I’m not a Boxcar Children fan. So even if this compilation is a bit of a stretch for the R.I.P. challenge, that’s okay, because it fit my mood perfectly!