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The Clue in the Recycling Bin (A Boxcar Children Mystery) Review by Karen Yuen

By Gertrude Chandler Warner
Albert Whitman & Company
250 South Northwest Highway, Suite 320
Park Ridge, Illinois 60068

Our family was first introduced to the Box Car Children series when we saw it recommended in a popular homeschool catalog. The books were originally written by Gertrude Chandler Warner, a kindergarten teacher, to engage her students in a love of reading. Each story involves the adventures of the Alden children, who were once homeless for a short time and lived in an abandoned boxcar before being reunited with their loving grandfather.

The Clue in the Recycling Bin tells the tale of how the Alden children--Benny, Violet, Jessie, and Henry--begin working in a recycling center. A series of strange events occur when the recycling center is vandalized. As with all the Box Car Children stories, the kids work together with their grandfather to solve the mystery of why someone would want to vandalize the recycling center and who might be responsible.

This book was a lot of fun for our young children. It has just enough suspense and intrige to engage them without becoming frightening or threatening. Our 7-year-old was able to read the chapters aloud on nights when I was too busy. Even our toddler sat quietly listening, and he begged for "Boxcar Children" every night at dinner! While this series of books doesn't contain lots of interesting vocabulary or extremely well written, complex sentence structure, it does reinforce in young hearts that reading is an enjoyable and wonderful pursuit. And isn't that what we all hope for in our children? If you need something fun and relaxing to add to your family read-aloud time, this book and others in this series will be great fun for the entire family!

Product review by Karen Yuen, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, July 2011