Are there any kids mysteries that are good? - Mothering Forums

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Old 10-02-2009, 01:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
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So, ds has a definite preference for mystery stories.

Right now, he's reading the Boxcar Children Mysteries. The only good thing about this series is that there are hundreds of them. I hate them. With a passion that I had heretofore reserved for Barney and the Teletubbies. (OK, they're not that bad. But the children are just too saccharine and goody-goody, even for me (who was a goody-goody kid!).)

It wouldn't be a problem except that we read stories outloud every night before bed, and so I'm reading chapters of these awful books. The thought of reading all one hundred and some of those books makes my skin crawl. I barely made it through the entire A to Z mystery series and was grateful that we're English speakers so we only have 26 letters to the alphabet.

Are there any GOOD series of mysteries for kids in 3rd to 5th grade? I think ds likes the Boxcar Children books because they're easy for him to read (they're at about a 3rd grade reading level, and he's reading about a 5th grade level).

So, I'm in desperate need of recommendations for mystery books at a 3rd to 5th grade level that aren't too scary.

(x-posted in Childhood Years)

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Old 10-02-2009, 04:25 PM
 
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I was always really partial to the Encyclopedia Brown serial when I was younger. There are a lot of them and they're in no way scary. If you're looking for something a little creepy, you might want to try The Egypt Game or The Headless Cupid. They're both great as well.
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Old 10-02-2009, 06:01 PM
 
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You might try some of Enid Blyton's books.

I loved those as a kid.

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Old 10-02-2009, 06:26 PM
 
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Old 10-02-2009, 07:15 PM
 
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The Westing Game is a fun kids' mystery. And of course, there are eight million Hardy Boys and Alfred Hitchcock's Three Investigators books -- not exactly literary gold, but many kids love 'em.

Oh, and there's a new mystery series featuring Sherlock Holmes' younger sister, Enola -- it starts with The Case of the Missing Marquess. I haven't read them, so can't vouch for quality or whether a young boy would like them.
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Old 10-03-2009, 02:12 AM
 
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Well, I like Nancy Drew ... but, maybe your son wouldn't be interested in a female protagonist. Are Boxcar children the same as the Hardy boys? I hated those for some reason too.

I think Sherlock Holmes is great. I believe they make a "kid's" version of these books. However, I honestly, think a 3rd grader would be able to understand them, assuming you would be the one reading to them. I remember reading Holmes in 3rd grade and loving it, though.

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Old 10-03-2009, 10:32 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thalia the Muse View Post
The Westing Game is a fun kids' mystery. And of course, there are eight million Hardy Boys and Alfred Hitchcock's Three Investigators books -- not exactly literary gold, but many kids love 'em.

Oh, and there's a new mystery series featuring Sherlock Holmes' younger sister, Enola -- it starts with The Case of the Missing Marquess. I haven't read them, so can't vouch for quality or whether a young boy would like them.
I really liked the Westing Game when I was young. I also enjoyed The Egypt Game and anything else by Snyder. I don't remember when specifically I read them, though.

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Old 10-04-2009, 05:45 PM
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Whatever series it was with the Nose Knows or something like that-- I LOVED those mysteries when I was little. The case of the wandering weathervane was one of them.

Sizzle and Splat had two that were great, but that might be for slightly older readers.
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Old 10-04-2009, 08:22 PM
 
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one of my favorite mysteries is Over Sea, Under Stone, the first book in Susan Cooper's the Dark is Rising series. it has elements of Arthurian myth, and may be listed as fantasy--but to me, it is first and foremost a great mystery. (the later books in the series might be too scary/strange?)

I recommend it as a read aloud, and then your child can save the Boxcar books for private, silent reading.

I know many schoolmates were crazy about the Hardy Boys, but like in a PP, I'm not sure I can vouch for their quality. you'd have to check one out.

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Old 10-07-2009, 10:59 PM
 
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We just found a series by Carole Marsh that we enjoy. 39 Clues is another series
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Old 10-08-2009, 02:02 AM
 
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Have you tried the Hardy Boys? I read almost all of them around 4th grade. I didn't like Nancy Drew as much, but the Hardy Boys were great. There was another series, too - less well known, but I'll try to find one and give you the name, in case you can find them.

ETA: They're very Canadian, and I don't know if they'd appeal, or how easy they'd be to find, but my nephew used to love the Screech Owls.

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Old 10-08-2009, 02:10 AM
 
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i liked boxcar children and bobsy (bobsey? cant remember the spelling, lol) twins when i was a kid

oh, and we read the westing game for school in 6th grade and i remember really liking that one too

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Old 10-10-2009, 04:33 PM
 
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My 7 y.o. dd really liked the Cam Jansen mysteries (these might be too easy for your son).

There's also the Geronimo Stilton mysteries, and Encyclopedia Brown.

In 3-4th grade my son loved the American Chiller series by Jonathan Rand. If you're in Michigan (or interested), Rand also has a series set in Michigan.

a couple misc. ones: The Mysterious Benedict Society, by Trenton Lee Stewart, and Chasing Vermeer, by Blue Balliett

a couple Newbery winners are also good mysteries: Bud, Not Buddy, by Christopher Paul Curtis; Holes, by Louis Sachar, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, by E.L. Konigsburg, and A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L'Engle
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Old 10-10-2009, 04:37 PM
 
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oh, and I really started hating the Boxcar Children and their ever-helpfunessl and politeness, too

Lois Lowry's The Willoughbys would be a good antidote to that (and it's quite the mystery, too), although your ds may be a bit young for its Lemony Snicket-esque style. Don't forget to check out the glossary at the back if you do read it.
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Old 10-13-2009, 11:00 PM
 
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Yeah, another (very enthusiastic) vote for the Westing Game!!! That was one of the most cherished books of my childhood, I remember the feeling of not being able to put it down, and the weird feeling of mystery and adventure that it gave me.

Same, times a thousand, with A Wrinkle in Time. It's not exactly a mystery, certainly not in the vein of Boxcar Children or Hardy Boys--it's a bit of a sci-fi, fantasy, mystery but OHMIGOD IT IS SOOOOOOO GOOD.

And if you hate saccharine-sweet characters, well then you'll really love these two because they both have a cast of characters that are at turns troubled, turbulent, difficult, intelligent, funny, independent, eccentric and complex!!!

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Old 10-14-2009, 03:02 PM
 
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My DS#1 has been inhaling the "Hardy Boys" since 3rd grade, but his reading's been at a pretty high level. They're a little old/old-fashioned, and the vocabulary reflects that. There's also the occasional flurry of words in foreign languages (usually Spanish or French).

We've used them as homeschooling tools, as well, as he has kept lists of words he's needed to look up while reading 'em.

The "Cam Jansen" books are good, but if your son's up to the "Hardy Boys," then he's much too old for "Cam Jansen."
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