A couple of you mentioned The Boxcar Children in reference to my family’s little vacation this past week… enough where I wanted to confirm that yes, as an introduction to the getaway, Ellen and I have been reading Caboose Mystery to Elliot and Henry. We’ve been reading Boxcar Children stories to Elliot for the past year and he loves them, although we jumped quite far a head in the chronology to get him to Caboose. Previous to this, we had read The Yellow House Mystery, which is either third or fourth in the series. I can’t remember which.
It’s funny to me; the majority of books I devoured as a young reader took place in an extremely idealized version of the late 1950/early 1960′s. The later Boxcar Children books, the majority of Beverly Cleary’s output like the Henry Huggins series (although Cleary admirably honed in on the uneasiness of middle class life in the later Ramona books), and even Encyclopedia Brown fit this mold. Weird to think about.
For what it’s worth, Caboose Mystery is insane in that way only books from a certain time period can be. It seems like Ms. Warner purposely chose names for characters and turns of phrase that are, in 2013, completely hilarious. A character in this book is named Old Beaver, for example. At another point, a glass factory worker extols the benefits of “jerking off” glass handles in relation to his trade. Another character is named Cho-Cho and he was married to a woman named Chi-Chi. CHO-CHO and CHI-CHI.