Bicycle Mystery is book fifteen (15) in The Boxcar Children Series. Gertrude Chandler Warner wrote the first nineteen books including this chapter book. The protagonists are the Alden children: Henry, Jessie, Violet and Benny. They are orphans who live with a loving grandfather.
They are known as The Boxcar Children because in book one, the children lived in an old boxcar in the woods. Now, they live with a rich grandfather and their dog, Watch. It is August and the children take a bicycle trip to visit their aunt and uncle. Little Benny wonders if they will have an adventure. What are The Alden Family/Boxcar Children Mysteries without adventure and a puzzle to solve?
Along the way, they befriend several people. Mrs. Randall is the first. Something is bothering her, but the foursome has no idea what is the problem. Next, in an abandoned house, they meet a dog. The previous evening, rain forces the children to shelter on the premises. The dog whom they name Shadow joins the group.
On their independent bicycle trip, they meet and help a truck farmer and his son plus a motel manager. Henry and his younger siblings stop and help each group before continuing onward on their bicycles. Everything is not sweet and peaceful. There is the before mentioned rain storm plus flat tires, a motel fire and a mysterious couple who repeatedly try to take Shadow.
Bicycle Mystery uses the trip to the Aunt and Uncle’s farmhouse for an excuse for the children to be on their own. Actually, The Boxcar Children only stay one night on the farm. The Alden Family/Boxcar Children Mysteries are about siblings who together face adversity and have fun without adult supervision. Benny, his older brother and sisters are active and independent. The Aldens love mysteries and helping others. The early chapter book is for ages seven-years-old and up. Bicycle Mystery’s sentences are simple, easy to read. David Cunningham’s sketches give the reader pictorial clues to the text.
Bicycle Mystery may appear dated to the modern child. For one, not many parents allow their children to go on overnight bicycle trips without adult supervision. The children do not have cell phones to keep in touch with adults. Today's children do not go in strangers' homes. At least, I hope not. The book is a way to view America fifty years ago.
List of The Boxcar Children Mystery Books
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