Sunday, March 25, 2012

Mystery Novels for Kids - Get a Clue!

Trap doors, hidden staircases, nefarious disguises, Colonel Mustard in the study with the candlestick - all the makings of a great mystery novel!  In this case the who done its are some wonderful children's authors who have jumped head first into this genre - with great results!

Just think, mystery novels require kids to use their reasoning and deductive skills, pick up on clues and predict the story sequence.  Really, if your kids start reading mystery novels it will increase their overall academic success!  Well, maybe I'm getting ahead of myself, but let's just say you're the smart one for getting a great mystery novel in their hands!

Get a clue on children's books by liking one great book on Facebook or following one great book on twitter.

Title:          The Brixton Brothers
Author:       Mac Barnett
Target:        Grades 3-6
Series:         Yes
What this book is about:
Steve Brixton is an aspiring detective who must check out An Illustrated History of American Quilting for a school project.  Turns out the book holds coded information for the librarians (who also happen to be highly trained intelligence agents) who think Steve is working for the nefarious Mr. E. Mr. E. is attempting to find a missing quilt embroidered with secret US information.  Just who is this Mr. E., and how can Steve clear his own name?
Why I love this book:
This book is a modern day homage to the Hardy Boys and Encyclopedia Brown.  Steve’s heroes are the Bailey Brothers, whose spy manual from a long ago era, Steve consults on a regular basis.  The tongue and cheek references to the old time detectives are laugh out loud funny, as are the antics of the boys.  These books are just fun and extremely well written.
Who this book is for:
Any kid who loves a good mystery and a good laugh.
Final thoughts:
I wouldn't give you a bum steer on these terrific books (a little old fashioned sleuth lingo!)

To purchase this book, please visit your local bookstore or click here: The Case of the Case of Mistaken Identity (Brixton Brothers)

Title:          Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief
Author:      Wendelin Van Draanen
Target:       Grades 4-7
Series:        Yes
What this book is about:
Sammy is a willful, feisty, curious girl who finds herself drawn into a mystery when she observes a hotel room robbery while looking through her grandmother’s binoculars.  As she looks for clues to find out who the thief may be, she is also in the midst of family issues, managing a difficult girl at school, and struggling  with friendships.  
Why I love this book:
First it is a fun mystery and I couldn’t believe I missed the clues to solve it, but they are cleverly written.  Second, Sammy is a fully developed character who learns valuable lessons throughout the series.  The cast of characters around her are also well done.
Who this book is for:
Kids who like a good story with a clever mystery thrown in.  Also, the cover of the books have changed making them more appealing than the version I have above!
Final thoughts:
Sammy is more a middle school version of Harriet the Spy than Nancy Drew!
To purchase this book, visit your local bookstore or click here: Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief

Title:          The Red Blazer Girls: The Ring of Racamadour

Author:      Michael D. Beil
Target:        Grades 5-8
Series:         Yes
What this book is about:
Three girls from St. Veronica’s School for Girls in New York City get caught up in a 20 year old treasure hunt to find a ring that was intended as a birthday gift  (the ring is also a treasured and priceless artifact.)  To solve the mystery they must solve word problems, tackle the Pythagorean Theorem, dig into Dickens and hide under the church altar.  Add a boy to the equation and things get really interesting.
Why I love this book:
Think Nancy Drew for tweens!  This book is not an award winner, but a wonderfully fun mystery.  The girls are quite likable and the I got completely caught up in solving the clues and hoping they would find the ring!  I will say that the story doesn’t get going until about Chapter 3.  I actually put the book down after the first chapter, thinking it was not worth my time, but thank goodness I decided to pick it back up.  
Who this book is for:
Girls who like a good mystery and want to read about middle school girls.  The girls on the whole are very innocent and kind.
Final thoughts:
A who done it for the tween crowd!
To purchase this book, visit your local bookstore or click here: The Red Blazer Girls: The Ring of Rocamadour


  1. Thanks for these recommendations! I always love to see a focus on mystery titles. We try to keep up over at, but we end up reading so many of the newer titles, we forget about old favorites. Great reminders -- and a great blog. Glad to have discovered you through the IBBA awards list.

    1. Thanks so much! Went over to your blog and found a whole list of titles I can't wait to read!