Did you know that mystery picture books help children develop thinking skills? It’s almost impossible to read these mysteries without thinking deeply about the clues, making (and refining) predictions, and using deductive reasoning. Plus, reading the mystery genre in a picture book sets the stage for loving mysteries later on with chapter books.
These picture book choices will make great choices for a mystery genre study at home or in the classroom. Download a free printable list here.
Find my list of the best mystery chapter books for older readers here.
The Best Mystery Picture Books (That Develop Thinking Skills)
Alphabet MysteryI Lost My Sock!: A Matching MysteryPigeon P.I.Betty’s Burgled Bakery: An Alliteration AdventureThe Deductive Detective7 Ate 9Secret Agent Splat! (Splat the Cat)Fractions in Disguise: A Math Adventure (Charlesbridge Math Adventures)Officer Panda: Fingerprint DetectiveInspector Brunswick: The Case of the Missing EyebrowEnigma: A Magical MysteryRichard Scarry’s The Great Pie Robbery and Other Mysteries
Alphabet Mystery by Audrey Wood
The lower case letters must find the missing “x” while thwarting the villainous capital letter “M” in this introduction to the mystery genre. My kids begged to read this picture book over and over again. (It’s also on: Favorite Alphabet Books for Kids.)
The Deductive Detective by Brian Rock, illustrated by Sherry Rogers
This entertaining picture book incorporates math with the mystery genre. Detective Duck needs to use his deductive reasoning to figure out which of the twelve animal bakers stole the cake from the cake contest. He follows the clues, subtracting each suspect as he rules them out. Until only one animal is left! Can you use your thinking skills to figure it out before Detective Duck?
Someone is stealing a duck from Spat’s collection each night and returning it the next day missing a beak. My daughter JJ adores Spat so we were thrilled with this exciting mystery story.
Officer Panda can’t figure out the strange prints he sees in the landscape around his town — and in his home!!! Then he realizes… it’s you, the reader! 🙂
Inspector Brunswick: The Case of the Missing Eyebrow by Angela Keoghan, illustrated by Chris Lam Sam
Enigma by Graeme Base
Bertie needs to find the missing magic show props that have disappeared from his grandpa’s retirement home. Each performer tells him what’s missing. You can help find the items in the illustrations while Bertie finds the culprit. Like all his books, Base excels in his detailed illustrations.
The Great Pie Robbery and Other Mysteries by Richard Scarry
Sam Cat and Dudley Pig are detectives. In this picture book of mystery stories, the pair search for clues, catch robbers and entertain readers like you. Put on your thinking cap because these will get you laughing and deducing.
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Download my "Can't Put 'Em Down" book lists for your kids ages 3 - 13.
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