Detectives and Rescue: Books For Kids

This list of the best kids books about detectives is sure to include a new favorite for the voracious young reader in your life! From The Mystery of the Zorse’s Mask to The Tunnel of Bones there’s something here for everyone’s tastes. Do you have a favorite book about detectives? Let us know!

The Mystery of the Zorse's Mask book
#1
The Mystery of the Zorse's Mask
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

When a mysterious stranger claims to own Becca’s beloved zorse, Zed, something seems suspicious. Besides, if this person is Zed’s real owner, the Curious Cat Spy Club fears he might be responsible for abusing Zed in the past. Kelsey, Becca, and Leo are determined to uncover the truth before they have to give Zed away. But when a daring rescue attempt puts Kelsey in danger, does the CCSC have enough spy skills to save her or are they in over their heads?

No Rules: A Friday Barnes Mystery book
#2
No Rules: A Friday Barnes Mystery
Written by R. A. Spratt and illustrated by Phil Gosier
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

In the fourth book of the Friday Barnes Mystery series, can Friday Barnes prove Ian’s innocence, find the Highcrest Academy prankster, and save her school? If it involves running, then probably no, but if not . . . Friday’s on the case!

Big Trouble: A Friday Barnes Mystery book
#3
Big Trouble: A Friday Barnes Mystery
Written by R. A. Spratt and illustrated by Phil Gosier
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

The mystery hits close to home when Friday learns her mother has been kidnapped. But she’s distracted by other happenings at school: a new VIP student (a Norwegian princess!) has just arrived and a master thief called the Pimpernel is causing chaos across campus. Can Friday crack the case of her missing mother, reign in a royal brat, and unmask the elusive Pimpernel?

Kelsey the Spy book
#4
Kelsey the Spy
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

Kelsey can’t resist collecting secrets in her spy notebook—just like her hero, Harriet the Spy. When she learns Leo has been hiding something from the group, she writes his secret in her notebook as well. But Kelsey accidentally brings her Notebook of Secrets to school and loses it. Everything she’s collected about classmates, friends, and family could be released into the world! When she receives a ransom note, she tries to solve the mystery on her own but soon realizes she needs everyone in the CCSC to rescue the notebook, help a homesick 130-year-old Aldabra tortoise, and unmask a thief. A surprise ending changes Kelsey’s life in a way she never imagined.

Mia Measures Up book
#5
Mia Measures Up
Written and illustrated by Coco Simon
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Mia is being cyber-bullied, and she’s determined to find out who is responsible in the latest addition to the Cupcake Diaries series. Mia is upset when her parents tell her she’s too young to go to a concert without adult supervision. She’s old enough to help run a cupcake business! Why can’t her parents see that she’s also responsible enough to do whatever she wants? And just when she’s reached a compromise with her parents (her older brother Dan will go to the concert with her), Mia finds out she’s being cyber-bullied on social media. It’s the Cupcake Club to the rescue as they all help Mia solve her online bullying mystery!

  1. Ellie Steps Up to the Plate - When Ellie joins a softball team, she quickly realizes that the sport is harder than it looks! Is she meant only for the stage, not the field? And what happens when Ellie goes in search of a stray ball in the nearby and finds an injured baby deer? Illustrations.

  2. Marty Frye, Private Eye: The Case of the Stolen Poodle - Book 2 in the Marty Frye young chapter book mystery series by bestselling author-illustrator team Janet Tashjian and Laurie Keller In this new collection of mysteries from bestselling author-illustrator team Janet Tashjian and Laurie Keller, everyone’s favorite poet detective is back in action. When the school nurse’s equipment is stolen, Marty tracks it down. When special candy disappears from the store, Marty finds the culprit. And most importantly, when a friend’s poodle goes missing, Marty comes to the rescue. But can he still manage to make up rhymes while he solves new crimes? The poet detective continues to make up rhymes and solve new crimes, in this second book in the illustrated Marty Frye, Private Eye series for young readers. A Christy Ottaviano book Titles in the Marty Frye, Private Eye series: Marty Frye, Private Eye: The Case of the Missing Action Figure Marty Frye, Private Eye: The Case of the Stolen Poodle More from Janet Tashjian: The Einstein the Class Hamster series: Einstein the Class Hamster Einstein the Class Hamster and the Very Real Game Show Einstein the Class Hamster Saves the Library The Sticker Girl series: Sticker Girl Sticker Girl Rules the School The My Life series: My Life as a Book My Life as a Stuntboy My Life as a Cartoonist My Life as a Joke My Life as a Gamer My Life as a Ninja My Life as a Youtuber More from Laurie Keller: The Adventures of Arnie the Doughnut: Arnie, the Doughnut Invasion of the Ufonuts The Spinny Icky Showdown The Scrambled States of America: The Scrambled States of America The Scrambled States of America Talent Show Do Unto Otters Open Wide Grandpa Gazillion’s Number Yard Birdy’s Smile Book Toys! Fooled You!

  3. The Great Shelby Holmes Meets Her Match - Acclaimed author Elizabeth Eulberg continues her hilarious middle-grade twist on Sherlock Holmes as detective duo Shelby and Watson face a culprit who might be able to do the impossible—outsmart Shelby. Eleven-year-old John Watson never expected his first friend in his new Harlem neighborhood to be Shelby Holmes, a nine-year-old, four-foot-tall supersleuth whose incredible smarts are outweighed only by her big attitude. But it turns out that solving mysteries with Shelby is just the adventure that aspiring writer John needs. On John’s very first day of school in New York, Shelby deduces that their new science teacher, Mr. Crosby, is in trouble. But as Shelby and John dig deeper to expose the truth, they discover there might be someone unexpected involved . . . Someone determined to outsmart Shelby Holmes. Can Shelby and John uncover the truth before the case goes from puzzling to downright dangerous? Don’t miss the rest of the Great Shelby Holmes series: The Great Shelby Holmes The Great Shelby Holmes Meets Her Match The Great Shelby Holmes and the Coldest Case

  4. Mission Defrostable - Our favorite breakfast food friends are back and all bready for their next adventure! Can they save the fridge before all the food is iced? It’s mission . . . defrostable. “And now with the two of you out of the fold, I’ve got my revenge and I’m serving it cold!” Brrr! There’s a frost in the fridge—and it’s hardened Pudding Pond and frozen Yogurt Falls. Agent Asparagus is on the case, and she begs Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast to join her superspy team. But when the enemy snatches Asparagus, Pancake and French Toast have only one dough man to turn to for help: the evil Baron von Waffle! Will he help them save the fridge . . . or are they doomed to become frozen food?

Pop Goes the Bubble Trouble book
#10
Pop Goes the Bubble Trouble
Written by Holly Anna and illustrated by Genevieve Santos
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

When bubble creatures start disappearing from the World of Make-Believe, Daisy and Posey are on the case in this eighth Daisy Dreamer chapter book! When Posey spots the quarter vending machines with plastic bubbles filled with tiny toys at Daisy’s local store, he tries to talk to them. But when they don’t answer, Daisy explains that the bubbles are just toys in the real world. So Posey invites Daisy to the World of Make-Believe, where, of course, there’s an entire world inside of those machines! Bubble creatures happily live in their plastic capsules, but it turns out there’s a tiny problem. A giant has been “borrowing” those bubble friends! Can Daisy and Posey save those bubbles before they go pop? With easy-to-read language and illustrations on almost every page, the Daisy Dreamer chapter books are perfect for emerging readers.

Bear Country book
#11
Bear Country
Written by Doreen Cronin and illustrated by Stephen Gilpin
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

The Chicken Squad is back for their sixth (mis)adventure, and this time there’s a headless bear on the loose and the Chicken Squad’s beloved Barbara has gone missing! A “lip-bitingly funny” (School Library Journal) chapter book from the bestselling author of Click, Clack, Moo and Cyclone. It’s fall in the backyard, and though the weather is cooling down, the crime solving business is still hot. When the Chicken Squad’s neighbor Anna McClanahanahan comes looking for her missing hamster one morning, it’s an easy case to solve (Ziggy always takes a stroll from 6:30 to 7:15 a.m.). The Chicken Squad is now ready to settle in for a relaxing day of knitting—that is, until Ziggy points out that Barbara, the Chicken Squad’s caretaker—the one who FEEDS THEM!!—is missing! And not only that, but there have been sightings of a headless bear in the neighborhood! Will the Chicken Squad be able to save their beloved Barbara and get some breakfast? Or will this case be too much to bear?

Password to Larkspur Lane book
#12
Password to Larkspur Lane
Written by Carolyn Keene
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Blue bells will be singing horses! This strange message, attached to the leg of a wounded homing pigeon, involves Nancy Drew in a dangerous mission. Somewhere an elderly woman is being held prisoner in a mansion, and Nancy is determined to find and free her. Meanwhile, the young detective’s close friend, Helen, begs her to solve a second mystery. Helen’s grandparents, the Cornings, are frightened by a sinister wheel of blue fire that appears after dark in the woods outside their home at lonely Sylvan Lake. When Nancy discovers the significance of the eerie signal, she also learns that her two mysteries are connected.

The Clue in the Old Album book
#13
The Clue in the Old Album
Written by Carolyn Keene
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Nancy Drew witnesses a purse snatching and runs after the thief. She rescues the purse, but not its contents, then is asked by the owner, a doll collector, to do some detective work. Readers will enjoy Nancy’s clever ways of finding all she seeks, and bringing happiness to a misunderstood child and her lonely grandmother.

Nancy Drew 51: Mystery of the Glowing Eye book
#14
Nancy Drew 51: Mystery of the Glowing Eye
Written by Carolyn Keene
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

When Nancy Drew eagerly agrees to help her lawyer father solve the mystery of the glowing eye, she has no way of knowing that it will involve the kidnapping of her close friend Ned Nickerson. A puzzling note in Ned’s handwriting set Nancy and her friends Bess and George on a hazardous search for a bizarre criminal. From their base of operations, the Emerson College campus, the three girl detectives and Ned’s college pals follow a maze of clues to locate the kidnapper’s hideout and rescue Ned. Not only is Nancy greatly worried about Ned, but also she is alarmed by the high-handed methods of a woman lawyer who tries to take the case away from her. Readers will follow Nancy’s exciting adventures as she unravels this dangerous web of mystery.

  1. How Kate Warne Saved President Lincoln - In 1856, when Kate Warne went to see Allan Pinkerton, only men were detectives. But Kate convinced Allan to hire her for his detective agency. She explained that she could worm out secrets where men could not go—in disguise as a society lady! Join Kate on her most important mission—to thwart a plot to assassinate Abraham Lincoln on the way to his inauguration.

  2. The Mysterious Caravan - When the Hardy Boys take a winter vacation in Jamaica, Joe finds an ancient bronze death mask washed up near their beach house during a violent storm. Helping the Hardys and their friends in this bizarre mystery is William, a Jamaican boy, who flies to New York with startling news, only to be intercepted and held for ransom—the death mask! Frank and Joe must rescue William, plunge into their father’s airline-ticket theft case, and fly into a maze of danger in Africa.

  3. Escaped - After destroying the permanent X-Point and thwarting the Doctor’s plans for world domination, Daisha and Axel have a new problem: without a permanent X-Point, Earth’s magnetic poles are flipping, causing massive climactic changes around the world. Now they must find a way to expose a new X-Point to stabilize Earth’s magnetic field, all while evading a doomsday cult that would have the world end. Can Axel and Daisha figure out how to find each other and save the world?

  4. The Emperor's Riddle - During a family trip to China, eleven-year-old Mia Chen and her older brother Jake follow clues and solve riddles in hopes of finding their missing Aunt Lin and, perhaps, a legendary treasure.

Ella and Owen 9: Grumpy Goblins book
#19
Ella and Owen 9: Grumpy Goblins
Written by Jaden Kent and illustrated by Iryna Bodnaruk
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-8

In the ninth book in the Ella and Owen series, the dragon twins are captured by grumpy goblins! When Squeaky the gremlin runs off with Owen’s favorite book, the dragon twins follow him right into a goblin village. All Owen wants is his book back, but the goblin leader Grom the Terrible wants something else: to battle Owen. Can Owen beat Grom the Terrible in a battle to win back his book and save Ella and Squeaky from the grumpy goblins?

Panic book
#20
Panic
Written by Sharon Draper
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

As rehearsals begin for the ballet version of Peter Pan, the teenaged members of an Ohio dance troupe lose their focus when one of their own goes missing.

The Tunnel of Bones book
#21
The Tunnel of Bones
Written and illustrated by Zack Norris
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

When Cody and Otis Chandler, their father, and their cousin Rae journey to France, they discover that there’s a crime wave going on. When the thief snatches their dad’s painting, the twins can’t resist getting involved. Will they find out the truth before it’s too late? The ending involves a chase scene through the Paris catacombs.

    Did you enjoy our children's book recommendations? Did we miss one of your favorites? Let us know in the comments below!