Books to Share

  • Art Fraud Detective by Anna Nilson.
  • Cam Jansen and the Mystery of the Gold Coins by David Adler.
  • The Case of the Climbing Cat by Cynthia Rylant.
  • Detective Mole by Robert Quackenbush.
  • Private I. Guana: The Case of the Missing Chameleon by Nina Laden.

Books to Show and Booktalk

  • This Gum for Hire by Bruce Hale.
  • Eek: Stories To Make You Shriek by Jane O'Connor.
  • Nate the Great by Marjorie Sharmat.


Give each child a small magnifying glass.


Q: What happened to the kid who ran away with the circus?

A: The police made him bring it back.

Q: What do you get when you cross an ocean with a thief?

A: A crime wave.


Detectives Song

(Sung to the tune of "McNamara's Band")

Oh-h-h! We are the detectives

And we come from the library.

Although we're few in number

We're the finest there can be.

We'll find your lost item,

On that you can be sure.

And when we find it,

We always shout HURRAH!


The drums go bang and the cymbals clang,

And the horns they blare away.

Whenever we find it,

We always shout HURRAY!

We are the detectives

It's all so grand to see.

A credit to the Library!

Yes sirree!

Reader's Theatre

"The Forty Thieves" in Multicultural Folktales: Readers Theater for Elementary Students by Suzanne I. Barchers.

Who Took The Book From The Library Shelf?

(By Leila Raven Parrish.)

Props: Library book covered in brown paper from a grocery bag.

Stage Direction: All readers have their back to the audience unless they are reading.

Reader 1: (Holding book) Who took the book from the library shelf? (Taps Reader 2's shoulder) Did you take the book from the library shelf?

Reader 2: Who me?

Reader 1: Yes you.

Reader 2: Not me.

Reader 1: Then who? (Hands book to Reader 2)

Readers 1 & 2: Who took the book from the library shelf?

Reader 2: (Taps Reader 3's shoulder) Did you take the book from the library shelf?

Reader 3: Who me?

Reader 2: Yes, you.

Reader 3: Not me.

Reader 2: Then who? (Hands book to Reader 3)

Readers 1,2,3: Who took the book from the library shelf?

Continue until only the last reader has his/her back to the audience.

2nd to Last Reader: (Taps last Reader) Did you take the book from the library shelf?

Last Reader: Who me?

2nd to Last Reader: Yes, you.

Last Reader: YES, I took the book (takes book) from the library shelf!

All Readers: Yes! You? Couldn't be.

Last Reader: Could too.

All Readers: For WHO?

Last Reader: For YOU! (Hands book to Librarian)


Mummy Pins or Magnets

(Adapted from Make Yourself a Monster by Kathy Ross.)


  • Wooden ice cream spoon
  • Glue
  • White shoelace
  • Wiggly eyes
  • Styrofoam tray or wax paper
  • Safety pin or sticky back magnet


Cover both sides of a wooden spoon with glue. Next, wrap the shoelace around the entire spoon so that it looks like a mummy. Tuck the end of the lace under on the back of the mummy. Separate the shoelace slightly on the small end of the spoon on the opposite side or front of the mummy. Attach two wiggly eyes so that they appear to be are peeking out. Rub glue over both sides of the mummy to hold the shoelaces in place. Let the mummy dry on wax paper or styrofoam tray. When the glue is dry, add a safety pin or magnet to the back.

Detective Periscope

Make a toy periscope following the directions at www.pitara.com/activities/craft/online.asp?story=111


Solve a Mystery

The MysteryNet's Kids Mysteries web site at http://kids.mysterynet.com/ features mysteries to solve, scary stories, and magic tricks. Read some of the mysteries and ask the children to solve them.

Logic Puzzles

Select logic puzzles for the kids to solve at Mystery Masters at www.geocities.com/logic_puzzler/.

Detective Scavenger Hunt

Give each child a piece of paper or a notebook, a pencil, and a crayon. An old crayon broken in half will work best. Act as their guide for the scavenger hunt and direct them to do the following questions, or make up your own.

  • Step out into the checkout area of the library, close your eyes, and listen for a moment. Open your eyes and write down at least three sounds that you heard.
  • Are there plants in the library? Write down how many different kinds of leaves can you see?
  • Draw the shape of leaf you like best. Why is it your favorite?
  • Find three items and make three "mystery rubbings". To make a mystery rubbing, place a sheet of paper over an object and rub it gently with a crayon until the outline of the object becomes visible. Note: Librarians may wish to set a number of appropriate items on a table for the children or suggest possible items.
  • Think of two clues apiece to help people guess what the rubbings are. Write down the clues underneath the mystery rubbing.
  • Look around the library and find a good place to hide. Write it down.
  • Find something that is living and something that is dead. Write them down.

Guest Speakers

Invite a Police Officer to fingerprint the children or invite a Storyteller to tell detective and mystery stories.

Web Sites

KIDDONET Detective Game

MysteryNet's Kids Mysteries

Mystery Master


Detective Barbie.

Professional Resources

  • Kids Create by Laurie Carlson.
  • Make Yourself a Monster by Kathy Ross.
  • Multicultural Folktales: Readers Theater for Elementary Students by Suzanne I. Barchers.


Texas Reading Club 2003 Programming Manual / Mission Possible Spy Book!

Published by the Library Development Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Page last modified: June 14, 2011