Mystery Ranch by Gertrude Chandler Warner
Grandfather is being crabby, which is weird, because he’s usually cheerful. He tells the children that he’s upset about his sister, Jane. They didn’t even know grandfather had a sister. The children are going to go help Aunt Jane out for a while. They find out that Aunt Jane has a ranch, but it’s too much for her to take care of now. She has a few people hired on still.
She’s a bit crabby too, at the beginning, but she comes to like having the kids around. It also seems like she gets better as time goes on, but mysteries start popping up. There’s a strange shack on the property that someone appears to be living in. The kids don’t tell Aunt Jane because they don’t want to worry her.
They also find some strange dust. Grandfather has some people investigate and it turns out that the strange dirt is uranium. It’s worth a lot of money and one of the chimneys are even made of uranium ore. Aunt Jane has a surprise for the children and they do find out who has been living in the shack.
What I liked
This is one of the original Boxcar books so the story line goes into much more detail and has more in it than the newer Boxcar books. I like how they’re more complex and less formulaic than the later books. This book also has some origins of some of the things that are prevalent throughout the rest of the series.
What I didn’t like
Uranium is radioactive and the Aldens are pretty much just rolling around in it. This is another place where Grandfather gets all of his money. He has a freaking Uranium mine, selling it to the US government and Russia at the same time I suppose.
It’s crazy that Aunt Jane gives her ranch to children, children–let that sink in. These kids are already spoiled, but they have their Aunt giving them a piece of property worth lots of money. It’s just so unrealistic.
They should have called it Uranium Ranch.
Would you give someone your ranch?
What would you do if you discovered uranium on your property.