A former student recommended I read Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein because there is a character in the story who has the same last name I do. It took me a few months to get to it, but I finally read it during my spring break.
This book follows a group of characters who are trapped in a library through a scavenger hunt of library knowledge in order to escape. The book becomes a puzzle for the reader too. It taps into your library skills and background knowledge of classic books. The riddles inserted into the story reminded me of a few other books I read and really liked. I had a starter list of this style of books in my Style-Alike book post, but I thought it was time for a dedicated scavenger-hunt-wrapped-in-a-mystery list.
Most titles on the list have the “riddle” element to them, but I also included classic mystery books like Nancy Drew where characters uncover clues to solve the crime without having to decode a puzzle first to reveal the clue.
- The 7th Level by Jody Feldman
- Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs
- Benjamin Pratt & Keepers of the School series by Andrew Clements
- Chasing Vermeer (and others) by Blue Balliett
- Conspiracy 365 series by Gabrielle Lord (must be read in order)
- Floors series by Patrick Carman
- Gollywhopper Games by Jody Feldman
- Hardy Boys by Franklin W. Dixon
- The Maze of Bones by Rick Riordan (and The 39 Clues series)
- The Mysterious Benedict Society series by Trenton Lee Stewart
- Nancy Drew by Carolyn Keene
- Red Blazer Girls series by Michael D. Beil
- The Secret Series by Pseudonymous Bosch
- The Sherlock Files series by Tracy Barrett
- The Sisters Grimm series by Michael Buckley
- The Teddy Bear Habit by James Lincoln Collier (older publication)
- Theodore Boone Detective series by John Grisham
- Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage
- The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
Mysteries are actually a great book style for younger readers (1st through 3rd grade) because students have to maintain plot details from earlier in the book to understand any resolutions that happen later in the book. There are many series for this lower reading level that are popular. Reading multiple books from a series strengthens reading because they typically follow the same plot pattern in each book. This gets repetitive for an adult but actually helps improve reading skills in kids because they can begin to more accurately anticipate what will happen next, which makes the story easier to follow and remember.
- The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids by Debbie Dadey and Marcia T. Jones
- A to Z Mysteries by Ron Roy
- The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner (I like the ones by the original author the best, 1-19)
- Encyclopedia Brown by Donald J. Sobol
- Hank the Cowdog by John R. Erickson
- Jigsaw Jones by James Preller
- The Magic Treehouse by Mary Pope Osborne