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Mystery Ranch

(The Boxcar Children #4)

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  5,725 ratings  ·  186 reviews
Eccentric Aunt Jane needs help on her ranch. The Aldens overturn a plot against her.
Paperback, 128 pages
Published January 1st 1989 by Albert Whitman Company (first published November 30th 1957)
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Average rating 3.90  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,725 ratings  ·  186 reviews

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Meredith Buchanan
Sep 06, 2012 rated it liked it
This book starts out with a bang, naturally, as Grandfather comes in and slams the door. And then slams another door. And he only said hello, to Benny, instead of his normal, long-suffering pandering! Thats how Benny knows something is wrong. He immediately goes to Jessie and Violet with this distressing news, but they dont know what to do, presumably because theyre girls and this is a mans problem, so they shout for Henry, who girds his loins and leads the troops down to barge through the ...more
Sep 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
The Boxcar Children is one of the first books I remember reading all by my self as a child in the 80's. I loved the Alden's, that much I remember, but I do not remember the stories. Because of that, I decided to re-read at least a few Boxcar Children books.
When I went to the library I was amazed at how many episodes there are. There are well over 100! I always thought they went to about 20 or 30. I tried to find some of the first books so I grabbed what I thought was number 3 and 4. What I
Theresa Abney
Dec 17, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: kindle
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Octavia Cade
Jan 01, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: childrens, mystery
Good grief. How did these books ever get published? Things have taken a severe downturn since the first book in the series. I mean, I read enough of the Trixie Belden books as a kid to know that children's mystery stories aren't too hot on the plausibility side, but these children are playing in a uranium mine!!! Not to mention the chimney of the house in the ranch their great aunt has given them (for no good reason, because these kids aren't rich enough) is made of uranium ore. Granted, these ...more
2019 read aloud with the boys # (too lazy to check)
Kids love these boxcar children books. Fact! I have so many fond memories of salivating over them myself as a child. Thinking the "mysteries" were so juicy and the lives of these children were such a big unfathomable deal.

But you guys, as an adult I just can't figure it out. LOL. They are so simplistic and hardly mysterious at all. To be a kid again. I guess.
Feb 02, 2020 added it
Of all the Boxcar Children book titles that could also be salad dressings, this is the most so.
Oct 27, 2017 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Review by Grace, age 8, 1/5/19

This is a book about Jesse and Violet going to see their Aunt Jane who never gets out of bed and hasn't eaten for two years. Their aunt is very strict and she told the neighbor Maggie that she didn't want Maggie to take care of her anymore, she wanted her brother's grandchildren to take care of her. So Violet and Jesse did. And they met a mystery man (as their brother Benny would call it) on the train. After they had taken care of her for a while, the aunt gave the
Dec 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Boxcar children? More like rich mansion children.
May 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
this book was AWESOME!
Apr 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Gertrude chandler Warner novel Mystery Ranch is fiction and is exciting. I liked the story because It was about them going out west to a ranch for a summer vacation. The main characters are Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny. At the nod of the story they finally solved the mystery and went home. I recommend this book to people who like mysteries.
Tina Harden
Aug 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
The plot in this title may not shine as bright as the others but it does still have a good "takeaway", RESPECT. Pure and simple. An old bitter lady who does nothing but disrespect her caretakers is changed through the respect given to her by the children.

A rift between brother and sister that has lasted decades is repaired through respect. This is a good title to use when looking to teach young children about respecting others, even when faced with harsh words and bad attitude from people.
Mar 28, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one
Recommended to Kianna by: elementary teacher!
i will never pick up one of these books again in my life. when i was in elementary my brain almost blasted listening to my teacher read these books. Never read these books to your children! i am so serious. i promise you they will be bored out of there lives!
Cherie In the Dooryard
Yaaaawn. Form a parent perspective, this was the most boring of the Boxcar Children series yet. No suspenseful details, no mini-mystery, no tension. The kids seemed to like it, but what do they know?
Jul 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s-books
Originally published in 1958. Charming. Elizabeth loves this series!

Short and easy read for children. The new setting, lively new side characters and mystery elements kept it interesting for me as an adult. I read the book in one sitting in about 75 minutes. I LOVED the old fashioned fonts and illustrations inside the book. (The library copy has this colorful drawing on the hardcover. But, the modern paperback set we bought has hideous modern/reimagined illustrations on the covers. What a
Mar 05, 2020 rated it really liked it

This time, apparently Grandfather has an estranged sister, living nearly on her own out in a giant ranch house somewhere or the other. She keeps running off the help, so of course Jessie and Violet (being the girls) go to help her--and miraculously have no trouble doing so. It's kind of hard to believe, but it's nice to have another change of scenery. And hey, I always love reading aloud books in my 'creaky old woman voice'. :D

It's kind of bizarre that Aunt Jane eventually (view
Ok I try not to give low ratings to children's books because I usually figure that any complaints I might have would not really be an issue if I was a younger reader, and I loved this series when I was a child but this one was just really not good.

I mean first of all the whole 'missing or estranged relatives' plotline is getting REALLY OLD now so I hope we are heading more into the stuff that I remember soon, but also there is not really any mystery here at all ...or I guess there maybe is but
Title: Mystery Ranch
Author: Gertrude Chandler Warner
Series: The Boxcar Children, 4
Format: ebook
Length: 99 pages
Rating: 3 stars

Synopsis: Eccentric Aunt Jane needs help on her ranch. The Aldens overturn a plot against her.

Mini-review: So I found that, embarrassingly, I've accidentally been reading the Easy Reader abridged copies. Which honestly makes sense because they seemed too simple. I may go back and reread books 2-4 later but for right now I'm just going to continue on with the regular
Jan 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
I'm re-reading through my collection for the nostalgia. I have to wonder how these "mysteries" captivated me as a kid- as an adult I'm just not a believer most of the time. Aunt Jane just magically changing personality because these girls are just that good, her giving over a ranch to 4 children, her ability to keep everyone else from doing anything- it just didn't fit. Don't get me wrong- for what it is (a sophisticated, engaging graded reader) this book does quite well. But it's mystery is ...more
Sarah Nessler
Jun 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The 4th installment in The Boxcar Children series. More mystery as the family connections grow for the Alden children. Their lives seem like they are plucked straight out of Mayberry themselves. Everyone is chipper, respectful, and breathtaking. It is refreshing to read such a touching series. I know I read many of these in my younger days but re-reading them has been a delight giving me such a sweet glimpse of my past. I am so glad that I am a book nerd!
Jan 22, 2020 rated it liked it
I think this may have been the shortest of the first four in the The Boxcar Children series, and it did feel a bit short. However, this installation still holds the same appeal as the previous three. New characters are introduced, and the main characters visit a new place. This book also follows the mystery theme that the previous book started (and the rest of the series follows.) Overall, a quick but pleasant read.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Love a good wholesome boxcar mystery and this one is fantastic. I read it for my sons book report to make sure I would be able to check his report before turning it in. I actually enjoyed a book without all the heaviness and complications of an adult novel. I found myself actually enjoying this read.
Vernon Area Public Library KIDS
The mystery journey continues! This time, Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny visit a ranch to take care of their aunt. But, not everything on the ranch is as it seems. Another fun-filled adventure mystery in the Boxcar Children Series that you wont want to miss.

Recommended for grades 2-4. Lexile level: 440
Reviewed by Christine Hwang, Youth and School Services, Vernon Area Public Library
Nov 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
OK, so heres another way these books are hilariously anachronistic as the kids play with raw uranium ore for a summer Aunt Janes ranch. And is it possible that Aunt Janes mysterious illness might be linked to the chimney in her home which made of these same uranium-bearing rocks? Call it a hunch... ...more
Nov 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book it was such a mystery reading through it now I don't want to spoil it for anybody but you need to read this book it was amazing. I loved it so much and I think that anyone else will enjoy it as much as I did.
Apr 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love reading this series with my kids. They all love them from age 6 to 11. They are clean and wholesome and teach about sibling and family love and devotion as well as manage to be intriguing to young minds.
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, to-ron
You can tell this was written in the cold war. Never seen children so excited about uranium. Rich kids get richer by pure luck. Of course the woman ends up apologizing at the end of the book. Reading these as an adult is quite interesting.
Barlow Girls
I LOVED THIS BOOK! 📖 I liked it so much I read it cover to cover! I'm a 5th grader but I would recommend this book 3-6 grade. Another thing I love about this book is the mystery in every book! This was an amazing book, and I suggest reading it yourself.
Jessica Howard
Jul 24, 2019 rated it did not like it
This was.... not great. The girls were also way less into this one than the others. I think its time for a Boxcar break.

Although my 9yo did point out that probably Aunt Jane was cross because she was dying like Marie Curie. So then we had an educational time explaining uranium to the 5yo. 🤣
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Gertrude Chandler Warner was born in Putnam, Connecticut, on April 16, 1890, to Edgar and Jane Warner. Her family included a sister, Frances, and a brother, John. From the age of five, she dreamed of becoming an author. She wrote stories for her Grandfather Carpenter, and each Christmas she gave him one of these stories as a gift. Today, Ms. Warner is best remembered as the author of THE BOXCAR

Other books in the series

The Boxcar Children (1 - 10 of 153 books)
  • The Boxcar Children (The Boxcar Children, #1)
  • Surprise Island (The Boxcar Children, #2)
  • The Yellow House Mystery (The Boxcar Children, #3)
  • Mike's Mystery (The Boxcar Children, #5)
  • Blue Bay Mystery (The Boxcar Children, #6)
  • The Woodshed Mystery (The Boxcar Children, #7)
  • The Lighthouse Mystery (The Boxcar Children, #8)
  • Mountain Top Mystery (The Boxcar Children, #9)
  • Schoolhouse Mystery (The Boxcar Children, #10)
  • Caboose Mystery (The Boxcar Children, #11)

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