Mysteries are some of my favorite books to read – from older traditional mysteries by Agatha Christie, Dorothy Gilman, and Emma Lathen to my current favorites by Brandilyn Collins, Randy Alcorn, Dee Henderson, and Diane and David Munson, who are all Christian authors. As a Sandwich Generation senior home care giver and grandmother, mysteries have often been a fun diversion while waiting – at doctor's offices, school parking lots, hospitals, etc. I love figuring out clues and trying to read between the lines. When I can come up with the solution before the end of the story, that makes me feel ten feet tall! I have to confess, (it's a well known secret in my family), I frequently LOVE to peek at the ending of the book. If it's good enough, I still love to read it. But peeking early allows me to put it down and get some work done before I finish the book. 🙂 With this kind of track record, I was pleased to find a fun mystery book for my grandchildren and me to enjoy together. And I was thrilled when two of the oldest (both a boy and a girl), loved it as well.
You Be the Detective (Jigsaw Puzzle Mysteries), by Marvin MIller, is an older Scholastic book. Published in 1991, it is often available used at Amazon. (Used books are definitely one of those great ways to save money that I absolutely love!) One of my 7 year old grandkids can read it on their own, the other enjoys it being read to them, and both are having a blast with the special twist this mystery book provides. Each mystery in the book (seven total) has two pictures. One shows important clues. The second is a jumble of squares which the kids have to cut apart and rearrange into the correct order. After it's done, they find even more clues and can usually guess the solution.
We use blank paper and glue sticks for them to put the pieces on. It makes it easy to rearrange them, but keeps the pieces from moving around when they aren't supposed to. And once it's done, they like posting the pictures for their brothers and sisters to enjoy. We are enjoying using this book as part of their homeschooling programs. It's definitely good for their critical thinking skills
When we finish this book, we're moving on to another by the same author, You Be the Jury. It also uses pictures but doesn't have any divided into squares for them to cut up. Since that is what my grandson enjoys the most, I plan on cutting it up myself ahead of time, putting it together all mixed up, copying it, and then letting him cut the new one up. I can then mail a copy of the same sheets to my long distance grandchild. This is a series of four books, all of which are available used from Amazon, as well. They should keep us busy for awhile. Then, I've found three other interesting mystery books that are next on the list:
- Encyclopedia Brown series by Donald J. Sobol. My kids enjoyed these short, chapter-long mysteries, as did my oldest granddaughter. I'm betting the rest of the grandkids will love it as well.
- Two-Minute Mysteries by Donald J. Sobol. These are shorter than the Encyclopedia Brown mysteries – about two pages each.
- One Minute Mysteries – 65 Short Mysteries You Solve with Science by Eric and Natalie Yoder. We've gone through three of these mysteries and they've enjoyed hearing them. They're a bit shorter – 2 or 3 pages – and don't have the fun puzzle, but they've enjoyed "putting on their thinking caps" and solving the mystery.
Please note that any and all children's books I recommend should be checked by you before passing them on to the grandkids, to make sure there is nothing in them that you are not comfortable with. I am particularly cautious about evolution so I've skipped a story or two in the Science mystery book. I've also read another that we then had a very good discussion about.
Overall, it's going to be a mysteriously good reading year for my grandchildren and me! How about you? Have you found any good mystery books for your grandchildren? We'd love to read about them in the comments section. And don't forget to sign up for the SandwichINK FREE email for more fun ideas for you and your grandchildren! Happy "solving." 🙂