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Mystery Book Series for Children

Perfect for young gifted kids

By

Updated March 10, 2012

One of the types of books gifted kids seem to enjoy over other genres is the mystery. They enjoy reading about mystery cases and how they are solved. When you find a fun character and an engaging writing style that your child enjoys, that's always a happy event. But it's so much better when the characters appear in more than one book!  These mystery series are among my favorite books for young readers. The recommended ages are from 4 to 12. If your child is an early reader, he will be able to read most of them on his own. But if not, your child will enjoy hearing you read the stories and you'll enjoy them as well!

1. Nate the Great

This series was an early favorite of ours. My son just loved Nate, the "great" independent, young detective in the series. He is such an endearing character, walking around the neighborhood in his rainboots, which are part of his "detective outfit." After finding a case to solve, Nate will go home and make his own pancakes, which he eats to help him think about his case. Sure, he's quite the independent young man, but he never fails to leave a note for his mom.

Publisher Recommended Reading Level: 4-8

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2. Jigsaw Jones

This series is fun, not just because the main character solves mysteries, but also because he loves jigsaw puzzles!  So many gifted kids also love jigsaw puzzles, so it makes the stories even more fun to read. Jigsaw Jones solves his mysteries the same way he works his jigsaw puzzles. He looks at the individual pieces and figures out how they fit together. Adding to the fun are his two older brothers who call him "Worm" and "Shorty" and his slobbering, sock-eating dog, Rags.

Publisher Recommended Reading Level: 4-8

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3. Flatfoot Fox

This series was another of our very favorite series. Flatfoot Fox and his friend, Secretary Bird, are the animal world equivalents of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. Together the two encounter a number of interesting characters such as Bashfull Beaver and Scatterbrain Squirrel as they solve various mysteries. These books are quite funny and if your child enjoys tongue twisters and other language fun, she will love this series. Your child may be able to read these books long before she turns 9.  My son was reading them when he was around 5.

Publisher Recommended Reading Level: 9-12

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4. Chet Gecko

This series is another one full of word play. Some of the word play is obvious from the title of the books: Farewell, My Lunch Bag; The Big Nap; The Malted Falcon. If you're a fan of film noir, you'll recognize hints of films made from Raymond Chandler's mysteries, like Farewell, My Lovely, The Big Sleep, and The Maltese Falcon. Even the style of the writing is a child's version of Chandler's style, which is part of what makes the books so much fun. Oh...and did I mention Chet is a lizard? In the 4th grade?

 

Publisher Recommended Reading Level: 9-12

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5. The Great Brain

The Great Brain is actually a little "con artist" whose real name is Tom. He uses his "great brain" for his schemes - and for getting out of trouble. Some parents of gifted kids will no doubt recognize some of Tom's traits and behaviors! But Tom also uses his mental abilities to help other kids, like those who got lost in Skeleton Cave, and for solving mysteries. The stories, which take place in the early 1900's, are told by J.D., Tom's younger and adoring little brother, and are both charming and entertaining.

Publisher Recommended Reading Level: 9-12

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6. Cam Jansen

One trait gifted kids are known for is a great memory.  And that is a prominent trait of the main character in this series. In fact, Cam Jansen, gets her name from her photographic memory, particularly since when she wants to remember something, she says, "click," as if she is taking a picture. Cam uses that great memory to help her solve various mysteries. There are actually two different series with Cam Jansen.  One is just the Cam Jansen series and the other is Young Cam Jansen meant for the younger kids.

Publisher Recommended Reading Level: 7-10

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7. The Boxcar Children

The series gets its name from the Aldren children, who after finding themselves parentless, live for a time in a boxcar of a train. As they travel around the country, the get involved in many exciting mysteries. The children (and their dog Watch) don't remain without family forever. Their wealthy grandfather finds them and provides them with a good home - but their adventures don't end once they settled down into a loving home!

Publisher Recommended Reading Level: 9-12

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8. Encyclopedia Brown

This series is more than a series of mystery stories. The stories in the books encourage kids to use critical thinking and practice their analytical and problem solving skills. Encyclopedia Brown, an 11 year old boy whose real name is Leroy, helps solve myteries that his father, the Chief of Police, talks about at home. Each book in the series consists of several short mysteries. Encyclopedia solves each case by the end of the story, and the readers are asked to figure out how he did it, with questions like "how did Encyclopedia know that X was responsible for the crime?" If a reader can't figure out the answers as easily as Encyclopedia does, he can find the answers in the back of the book.

Publisher Recommended Reading Level: 9-12

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