35 Kids Books About Mystery

Updated Jan. 19, 2019
Two of Everything book
#1
Two of Everything
Written and illustrated by Lily Toy Hong
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

When old Mr. Haktak digs up a curious brass pot in his garden, he has no idea what use it can be. On his way home, Mr. Haktak decides to carry his coin purse in the mysterious pot. But when Mrs. Haktak’s hairpin accidentally slips into the pot and she reaches in to retrieve it, the magic of the pot is revealed. Not only are there two hairpins inside, but there are also two purses!

Who Ate All the Cookie Dough? book
#2
Who Ate All the Cookie Dough?
Written by Karen Beaumont and illustrated by Eugene Yelchin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Kanga and her friends try to discover who ate all of her cookie dough.

Outfoxed book
#3
Outfoxed
Written and illustrated by Claudia Boldt
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

Harold is unlike any other fox. He hates eating chicken, for one thing. He much prefers reading detective novels. When Harold's father challenges him to catch a chicken as part of his initiation into adulthood, Harold is faced with a dilemma--should he obey his father and endanger the chicken's life, or do what his heart tells him is right? The latest title from award-winning illustrator Claudia Boldt, Outfoxed introduces a smart, independent-minded character in Harold the fox and is sure to become a bedtime favorite.

The Giant Jumperee book
#4
The Giant Jumperee
Written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Two of the world’s most celebrated picture book creators, Julia Donaldson and Helen Oxenbury, team up for the first time in this jaunty animal fable for fans of Room on the Broom and We’re Going on a Bear Hunt Rabbit arrives home one day to hear a loud voice coming from inside his burrow: “I’m the Giant Jumperee and I’m scary as can be!” shouts the stranger. Rabbit’s friends Cat, Bear, and Elephant come to help, but they’re no match for the mysterious, booming voice. But who is the Giant Jumperee? Find out in this new read-aloud classic from internationally bestselling author Julia Donaldson, beautifully brought to life by award-winning illustrator Helen Oxenbury.

Click! book
#5
Click!
Written and illustrated by Frank W. Dormer
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Things are not at all what they seem in this picture book mystery filled with rhyming wordplay. “It’s a perfect day to catch a cat,” muses a dog. But to his annoyance, all he seems to find are things that rhyme with cat. Rat. Bat. Gnat. Why can’t he catch a cat?! In a fascinating and delightful twist, we ‘click!’ to see the reason: the cat has been telling the story all along!

Stop! Bot! book
#6
Stop! Bot!
Written and illustrated by James Yang
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Rear Window meets Wes Anderson meets Richard Scarry in this fun picture book follow-up to Bus! Stop! In this very young picture book mystery, a little boy out for a walk with his family stops to show a building doorman his new "bot": "I have a bot!" Only he doesn't have it for long, because it floats up out of his hands like an escaped balloon. "Stop! Bot!" Springing to action, the kind doorman runs up to each floor of the building to try and catch it -- along with the help of each floor's resident. But while everything looks normal at first, every floor (and resident) is a little more wacky and unusual than the last! Musicians, baseball players, zoo animals, and finally a very large monkey all play a part -- but will they rescue the Bot before it's too late?! Children will love all the funny details in this very playful picture book!

Binny Bewitched book
#7
Binny Bewitched
Written by Hilary McKay and illustrated by Tony Ross
picture book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

When Binny finds some money left behind at an ATM—and then loses it—she unleashes an adventure full of “funny, poignant chaos” (The Wall Street Journal).Binny Cornwallis is not a thief. Or is she? In one greedy moment, she snatches some bills left behind at an ATM. After all it’s her mother’s birthday, and just think of what she could do with some cash in her never-quite-enough-money household. But of course she has to hide the money—she can’t explain it. And in her tiny house, every hiding place is in danger of discovery. After a few tries, Binny hides it so well she can’t find it again, even after she decides to give it back!Now, Binny must team up with her best enemy Gareth, who sets out to play detective and figure out who might have taken the money. Meanwhile the next-door neighbor is doing odd things like presenting Binny with a little doll that looks just like her—with her hand in her pocket, just as Binny’s was when she pocketed the cash. Is the witchy neighbor woman putting a spell on Binny?There’s plenty more going on, as Binny’s older sister Clem has a secret of her own, and her little brother James is having a kung fu clash with his best friend. Mayhem,love, and laughter run wild in this new hilarious Binny adventure.

The Frightful Ride of Michael Mcmichael book
#8
The Frightful Ride of Michael Mcmichael
Written by Bonny Becker and illustrated by Mark Fearing
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Bonny Becker and Mark Fearing join forces for a deliciously spooky story -- with a twist ending that'll leave readers hungry for more. When the Thirteen bus pulls up one dreary, stormy evening, something about it doesn't seem quite right. The driver grins down with a mouthful of long, white teeth, and there's barely any room to sit, but Michael McMichael is bringing his gran something very dear, so he gets on board despite his misgivings. But as they travel on and the rest of the passengers get off, Michael realizes there's nothing normal about this bus -- and the driver is getting creepier by the minute. Best-selling author Bonny Becker's cleverly rhyming text will chill and thrill readers alongside Mark Fearing's wonderfully funny illustrations, making this book perfect for Halloween story times -- and lovers of things that go bump in the night.

Lily, the Little Elf Princess book
#9
Lily, the Little Elf Princess
Written and illustrated by Stefanie Dahle
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Join Lily, the little Elf Princess, and her friends as they solve a magical mystery! Lily is determined to find the right spell to charm the water lilies on Lake Magic to open their blossoms so her friend can attend the great Annual Celebration of the Elves! But time is of the essence. Will she find the right spell in time?

Antoinette book
#10
Antoinette
Written by Kelly DiPucchio and illustrated by Christian Robinson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

"Raised in a family of talented bulldogs, Antoinette the poodle wonders what makes her special. She gets the chance to prove herself and find what she's good at when puppy Ooh-la-la goes missing"--

A House That Once Was book
#11
A House That Once Was
Written by Julie Fogliano and illustrated by Lane Smith
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

The dynamic duo of Ezra Jack Keats Award–winning author Julie Fogliano and Caldecott Award–winning illustrator Lane Smith team up to tell a delightful story about a boy and a girl who explore an abandoned house and imagine who might have lived there in A House That Once Was. Deep in the woods is a house just a house that once was but now isn’t a home. Who lived in that house? Who walked down its hallways? Why did they leave it, and where did they go? Two children set off to find the answers, piecing together clues found, books left behind, forgotten photos, discarded toys, and creating their own vision of those who came before.

Everybody’s Favorite Book book
#12
Everybody’s Favorite Book
Written by Mike Allegra and illustrated by Claire Almon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Anyone who says, “You can’t please everybody,” isn’t trying hard enough. At least, that’s what the cheeky narrator of this book thinks! A “good” book may have a spaceman or a ninja or a cowboy, but Everybody’s Favorite Book has something better: a Space Ninja Cow. And that’s only the beginning. You like princesses? We got 'em. Prefer a mystery? No sweat. Want the definition of "gallimaufry"? A good poop joke? A giant, carnivorous guinea pig? Check, check, and check. And there's more! Much more! This book has everything, for everybody! Here’s hoping things don’t go awry. (Spoiler, they do.) Okay then, here’s hoping it’s still your favorite book anyway.

The Case of the Missing Chalk Drawings book
#13
The Case of the Missing Chalk Drawings
Written and illustrated by Richard Byrne
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

The chalks are drawing flowers on the chalkboard, but someone keeps stealing their artwork! Who could the thief be? Fortunately, Sergeant Blue is on the case and determined to solve the crime. It's a fun and funny read-aloud mystery with a colorful cast of characters, from This book just ate my dog! author-illustrator Richard Byrne. Godwin Books

Happy Halloween! book
#14
Happy Halloween!
Written and illustrated by Sesame Workshop
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Dozing in front of his fireplace on Halloween night, the Count hears someone knocking at his castle door but sees nobody when he answers, a mystery that leads to spooky fun with Elmo and other Sesame Street friends.

There's a Hole in My Garden book
#15
There's a Hole in My Garden
Written and illustrated by James Stewart
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

The dead-pan narration in this debut picture book delivers a perfect child-like vision with humor and panache, depicted in luminous detail. A little boy shows what happens when he drops larger and larger objects, both in terms of size and imagination, down a mysterious hole that grows throughout the year in his garden. But what happens in December?

Surprise! book
#16
Surprise!
Written and illustrated by Mike Henson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Badger wants to show Rabbit something. But why do the lights keep going on and off? There are plenty of surprises in store for the animals in this simple, vibrant picture book which is both a mystery and a guessing game. As young readers prepare to turn the pages, they can try to predict what will happen next.

All Aboard The Discovery Express book
#17
All Aboard The Discovery Express
Written by Tom Adams, Emily Hawkins and illustrated by Tom Clohosy Cole
picture book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

Welcome on board the Discovery Express! The year is 1937 and a conundrum is afoot: a professor on the verge of a brilliant discovery has disappeared. Can you help to solve the clues on this time-travelling adventure and track down the missing scientist? On your voyage, you'll travel the world, see some of the most important moments in the history of transportation, meet the most brilliant engineers of all time, and ultimately unveil the design of the world’s first jet engine! ?This interactive lift-flap adventure is sure to spark the imaginations of aspiring scientists and engineers everywhere.

The Magic Garden book
#18
The Magic Garden
Written and illustrated by Carme Lemniscates
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Just like the passing of the seasons, or the mysterious transformation of a caterpillar into a butterfly, in this garden, everything is continually changing. With gorgeous illustrations and a beautiful story of a young girl discovering the marvels of nature, The Magic Garden is sure to delight young readers. At the end, the mysteries uncovered in the story are explained, so children can get their questions about the natural world answered, including sections on how bees make honey, why some animals camouflage themselves, and how a seed grows into a tree. Learning about nature has never been more enchanting!

The Big Stink book
#19
The Big Stink
Written by Fran Manushkin and illustrated by Tammy Lyon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

Something smells terrible in Miss Winkle's classroom, and no one knows what it is! When the class bully picks on the new boy, saying he's the smelly one, Pedro steps in and stands up for his new friend. But the class still needs to know where that stench is coming from! Like all Pedro books, the story is supported with a glossary and reader response questions, making this a fun and functional choice for libraries.

The Truth About My Unbelievable School . . . book
#20
The Truth About My Unbelievable School . . .
Written by Davide Cali and illustrated by Benjamin Chaud
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

Beware of . . . this school?! Henry is taking his new classmate on a whirlwind tour of their school. Mysterious inventions lurk, the cafeteria requires ninja skills, and some teachers may be monsters! Is this fantastical school to be believed? Or is there an even more outrageous surprise in store? Celebrated international author-illustrator team Davide Cali and Benjamin Chaud—the duo behind Junior Library Guild selections I Didn't Do My Homework Because . . . and The Truth About My Unbelievable Summer . . . —are back with yet another rollicking tale about truth, lies, and . . . school!

Forever or a Day book
#21
Forever or a Day
Written and illustrated by Sarah Jacoby
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

What does time mean to you? Sometimes it feels like it could last Forever or a Day. The seconds that count in catching the bus; The idyllic hours that slip by so quickly during a perfect day on the lake; The summer days that disappear into blissful happiness . . . Sarah Jacoby's debut picture book as an author and illustrator is as elegant as a poem and as perfectly paced as a mystery. This beautiful picture books follows an unassuming narrator through a meditation on time through the course of a single day. Inviting comparisons to Virginia Lee Burton and Margaret Wise Brown, this book's musings on time are at once simple, peaceful, and profound—the work of a truly genius picture book maker.

Mission Defrostable book
#22
Mission Defrostable
Written by Josh Funk and illustrated by Brendan Kearney
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

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?

Lost in the Library book
#23
Lost in the Library
Written by Josh Funk and illustrated by Stevie Lewis
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Steadfast Fortitude and curious Patience are waiting every morning to greet visitors of the Library. That is until, one early morning, when Fortitude finds Patience is missing. The city is about to awake, and the lions absolutely must be in their places before the sun rises. Now, Fortitude must abandon his own post to find his best friend in the Library’s labyrinthine halls. With Josh Funk's clever rhymes and Stevie Lewis' vibrant art, Lost in the Library introduces young readers to a pair of unforgettable lions, as well as the famed New York Public Library, and includes bonus material loaded with facts about Patience, Fortitude, and the NYPL's history.

Sherlock Chick's First Case book
#24
Sherlock Chick's First Case
Written and illustrated by Robert Quackenbush
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8

Look out Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock Chick hatched from his egg with a detective’s hat and magnifying glass, and he’s on the case in this adorable, easy-to-follow mystery from Robert Quackenbush. Within moments of his birth, Sherlock Chick lived up to the name he’d just been given. His parents pointed out the fact that their feed bin was empty and they didn’t know who might have taken their corn. Sherlock follows the trail of corn, questioning animals along the way, until he finds the corn and the culprits. Will Sherlock Chick be able to get that corn back where it belongs?

Lark and the Dessert Disaster book
#25
Lark and the Dessert Disaster
Written by Natasha Deen and illustrated by Marcus Cutler
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-8

L ark and Connor are judges for the annual baking contest at the community center. When they arrive, they discover that someone has destroyed a contestant’s entry. And not just any contestant’s entry—Sophie’s! Sophie is Lark’s best friend (she just doesn’t know it yet). The twin sleuths can’t simply roll with it. To save the contest they’ll have to take a whisk risk and start investigating the other contestants. With the timer ticking, Lark and Connor have to find the culprit before someone actually takes the cake. Lark and the Dessert Disaster is the fourth title in the Lark Ba Detective series, following Lark Holds the Key, Lark and the Diamond Caper and Lark Takes a Bow.

Have a suggestion for a book to add to this list? Send an email to [email protected]!