Tuesday, August 21, 2018

The Boxcar Children: Great Adventure 4 - The Shackleton Sabotage

After the difficulty of making it through the last book I read, I knew I needed something quick and enjoyable, so I reached out for the fourth part of this Boxcar Children story.  The books may be intended for young readers, but the stories themselves are fun, easy to read, and usually bring a smile or two to my face while I am reading them, making this the perfect choice.

The Shackleton Sabotage continues the kids' adventures around the world as they return stolen artifacts on behalf of the Reddimus Society.  The book opens with the Alden children headed for Australia to return an old coin with a hole in the center.  They are greeted by their aunt, who joins them on this latest leg of their journey, and together they visit various sites throughout the country before returning the coin to a doctor just off the coast of the land down under.  The second half of the book finds the four children, along with their aunt, traveling down to the very far south region of Antarctica (where, conveniently enough, not only does their aunt know a researcher and historian who is working there, but he turns out to be the Reddimus agent to whom they have to return the sixth relic!).

As always, there are plenty of coincidences to help the children get where they are going and have just the right amount of contacts to stay on track and stay safe, even with the Argents' agents hot on their trail.  Let's face it, there has to be a large amount of suspension of disbelief for these books to work, as no parent, grandparent, or guardian in their right mind would send four children around the world to return stolen relics, knowing that dangerous spies and criminals are after those very relics.  Further, there is no secret society in this world (or any other, for that matter!) who would use children, all under the age of 15, to do their work for them.

But, this is a children's mystery, after all, and in order to work, the children, no matter their ages, must have complete autonomy.  At least the author maintains their childhood, as there are plenty of things these kids don't know about the countries they visit, and the reactions of Benny and Violet (the two youngest) to the new venues and new experiences are very definitely child-like and realistic.  That, I will admit, is part of what makes these books fun, as the reader gets to experience some of these things through the eyes of a young child, and it can bring back good memories of being so young and innocent.

The one thing I do find interesting about this book is the title.  The Shackleton Sabotage.  From that title, one would think that the Argents would be up to something sinister in that Antarctic station, and that they would be creating havoc by sabotaging something there. Yet (and perhaps this might be considered a spoiler!), absolutely nothing sinister, deadly, dangerous, or even remotely villainous happens in Shackleton. In fact, there is no evidence at all that the Argents' agents even followed the children to Shackleton. So, it leaves me wondering what prompted them to choose this title for the book?

Aside from that, this was another fun romp with the Boxcar Children, and I look forward to seeing how this all concludes in the next book (particularly since the kids have finally figured out which of their so-called friends has actually been spying on them for the Argents!).

RATING:  7 dingoes on the loose out of 10 for showing the world just how independent children can be - I mean, after all, who needs parental supervision?  (Okay, okay, I'll keep my sarcasm in check from now on...)

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