Animal Mysteries—Kindergarten to Grade 9

All kinds of stories can be educational, even ones that appear at first to be simple amusements. Animal stories might seem like undemanding entertainment, but they have been used as a teaching tool since ancient times. Those that present animals as main characters can allow children to get outside themselves and think about problems that could be uncomfortable in a realistic setting. Stories about children with animal companions instruct them how to care for animals in various ways. Both kinds help young readers learn about friendship and develop empathy for animals. Mysteries, for their part, teach valuable lessons in critical thinking. When the genres are combined, animals—and the children who identify with them—act as detectives, finding clues, sorting them out, and evaluating the suspects. Sometimes the animals have to take over the case and solve a crime that baffles the grown-up humans. There are lessons to be learned even in amusements.

All titles in this minibibliography can be requested from your local cooperating library. The digital talking book titles can be downloaded through BARD. Contact your local cooperating library to register for BARD. Registered users can also download audio titles on iOS and Android devices using the BARD Mobile app. To find your local cooperating library, go to or call toll-free 888-NLS-READ (888-657-7323)


For Kindergarten-Grade 3

The Case of the Cat's Meow

by Crosby Bonsall
Snitch is certain someone is going to steal his cat Mildred even though his brother, Wizard, and their fellow sleuths, Tubby and Skinny, scoff at the idea. Sure enough, Mildred is soon missing and the four boys must put their investigative skills to work. 1978.

The Case of the Dumb Bells

by Crosby Bonsall
Four young private eyes who match wits against an invisible doorbell ringer are astounded to discover who the culprit is. 1966.

The Case of the Hungry Stranger

by Crosby Bonsall
Shortly after Wizard pronounces himself a private eye, Mrs. Meech, the woman next door, commissions him to find the thief who stole her blueberry pie. 1980.

The Case of the Scaredy Cats

by Crosby Bonsall
Wizard, Tubby, Skinny, and Snitch are private eyes. They have their own clubhouse, but the girls have taken it over. And the boys' plan to scare the girls away doesn't seem to work. Then one of the girls becomes missing and the private eyes have a job to do. 1984.

Books of the King and Kayla series should be read in the following order:

King & Kayla Series

by Dori Hillestad Butler
Books one through four, written in 2017 and 2018, feature canine King and his human, Kayla, as they solve everyday mysteries. Includes King and Kayla and the Case of the Missing Dog Treats, King and Kayla and the Case of the Secret Code, and two more. 2018.

King & Kayla and the Case of Found Fred

by Dori Hillestad Butler
While on vacation at Grandma's house, canine King becomes the lead detective after he finds Fred, a lost dog who smells like smoke and hamburgers. The three of them search for Fred's humans. 2019.

Books of the Buddy File series should be read in the following order:

The Case of the Lost Boy

by Dori Hillestad Butler
A mother and her nine-year-old son Connor go to the pound and adopt Buddy, a golden retriever. When Connor disappears, Buddy uses his keen sense of smell and powers of deduction to help the mother find her lost boy. Edgar Award. 2010.

The Case of the Mixed-Up Mutts

by Dori Hillestad Butler
While attending obedience class with his humans Connor and Mom, Buddy the dog meets Jazzy, a pug who was switched at the dog park for Muffin, another pug. Now Muffin's human is sad. Buddy thinks he might be able to solve the problem. 2010.

The Case of the Missing Family

by Dori Hillestad Butler
One night Buddy, a golden retriever, spies Uncle Marty loading a van at the house where Kayla—his former owner—used to live. Buddy risks losing his new family to slip into the van and return to Kayla. But his reunion does not go according to plan. 2010.

The Case of the Fire Alarm

by Dori Hillestad Butler
When Buddy's new humans Connor and Mom take him to school to become a therapy dog, he loves all the different smells and being petted by the children. Even better, he has a new mystery to solve when a false fire alarm goes off. 2010.

The Case of the Library Monster

by Dori Hillestad Butler
Buddy loves being a therapy dog at his humans' school—and solving mysteries. When he discovers a strange, blue-tongued creature in the library, Buddy investigates to find out what it is and how it got there. 2011.

The Case of the School Ghost

by Dori Hillestad Butler
When therapy dog Buddy gets to attend a sleepover with Connor at the school library, he decides it is the perfect time to investigate the legend of Agatha—the school ghost. 2012.

Who's in the Hall? A Mystery in Four Chapters

by Betsy Gould Hearne
A tongue-twisting mystery about three children, two babysitters, two dogs, a rat, a stopped-up sink, and a janitor. There is much confusion in the kids' apartment building as they deal with a stranger in the hall. 2000.

Digby O'Day and the Great Diamond Robbery

by Shirley Hughes
When canine best friends Digby O'Day and Percy vacation at a seaside resort, they encounter a diamond heist and must track down the culprits to solve the mystery. 2014.

The Case of the Missing Canine

by Shara Theresa Katsos
Three dogs, best friends and partners in their own detective agency, work together to solve their first mystery. 2014.

The Curse of Catunkhamun

by Tim Raglin
Canine adventurers Scott and West pursue a mysterious golden bone stolen by the evil cat, Doctor Mew Man Chew. Award winner. 2007.

Mr. Putter and Tabby Write the Book

by Cynthia Rylant
Since he has to stay indoors during a snowstorm, Mr. Putter decides to write a mystery novel. But writing a book isn't as easy as he thought. His neighbor, Mrs. Teaberry, likes the list he wrote instead and cheers him up. Easy chapter book. 2004.

Nate the Great and the Big Sniff

by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat
Boy detective Nate the Great follows clues to find his lost dog, Sludge, in a department store. Beginning chapter book. 2001.

Riddle of the Wayward Books

by Brad Strickland
After several burglary attempts occur at the bookstore where he is working for the summer, Joe and Wishbone decide to investigate and discover that some of the most important clues to the mystery are in the books themselves. 1999.

For Grades 2-4

Jane Martin, Dog Detective

by Eve Bunting
When it comes to dogs, Jane Martin is pretty smart. She's brave, too, and not easily fooled. Once the neighborhood kids discover her talents, this clever dog detective has plenty of cases to solve. 1984.

Sebastian (Super Sleuth) and the Flying Elephant

by Mary Blount Christian
Sebastian is a dog who loves to solve mysteries. Shortly after the circus comes to Sebastian's town, Tahsha, the beloved elephant, disappears. Sebastian and his police-detective human begin to analyze clues. 1994.

Flatfoot Fox and the Case of the Bashful Beaver

by Eth Clifford
Flatfoot Fox, who runs a detective agency, considers himself the smartest detective in the world. But when Bashful Beaver comes to ask for help in locating his big black bag of beautiful bright blue buttons, Flatfoot Fox allows his assistant, Secretary Bird, to head up the investigation—with rather unusual results.

Flatfoot Fox and the Case of the Missing Eye

by Eth Clifford
Flatfoot Fox, who claims to be the smartest detective in the whole world, and his assistant, Secretary Bird, have just been approached by Fat Cat—someone has stolen his glass eye! The theft took place at Fat Cat's very own birthday party. Suspects include Really Ridiculous Rabbit, Picky Pig, Greedy Goat, and Snake-in-the Grass. 1990.

Flatfoot Fox and the Case of the Missing Whoooo

by Eth Clifford
When someone steals Mournful Owl's whoooo, Silly Goose rushes to get detective Flatfoot Fox to investigate. Flatfoot Fox and his assistant, Secretary Bird, question a few local animals to get to the bottom of the matter. 1993.

Flatfoot Fox and the Case of the Nosy Otter

by Eth Clifford
Mrs. Chatterbox Otter's son, Nosy Otter, is missing, and Flatfoot Fox and his trusty aid, Secretary Bird, have agreed to take the case. They are determined to find the kidnapper before Mrs. Chatterbox Otter's constant patter drives them to distraction! The suspects include Lame-Brain Swan and Terribly Worried Woodchuck. 1992.

Mishmash and the Sauerkraut Mystery

by Molly Cone
When Miss Patch, the teacher, goes to Europe, Mishmash, her dog, is determined to keep house for himself. But who is turning the lights on and off, and who is pulling up the shades, running the vacuum cleaner, and locking and unlocking the doors? 1965.

Books of the J.J. Tully series should be read in the following order:

The Trouble with Chickens

by Doreen Cronin
J.J. Tully spent seven years as a rescue dog before retiring to the country. One day he is lured into a trap by a mutt named Vince, who wears a cone around his head and has kidnapped two of the chicken Millicent's babies. Short chapter book. 2011.

The Legend of Diamond Lil

by Doreen Cronin
Retired rescue dog J.J. Tully thinks things have finally quieted down in his neighborhood. Then a white purebred named Lillian moves next door, capturing the attention of mother hen Moosh and her chicks. But something is amiss. Short chapter book. 2012.


by Suzanne Francis
Rookie police officer Judy Hopps, a bunny, teams up with a fast-talking con-artist fox named Nick Wilde in order to crack a case. Adaptation of the Disney film version. 2016.

Ra the Mighty

by Amy Butler Greenfield
Determined only to care when the next snack is coming, the Pharaoh's pampered cat, Ra, is annoyed when his well-meaning friend Khepri—a scarab beetle—wants him to solve a crime in their Egyptian palace. 2018.

Snazzy Cat Capers

by Deanna Kent
Internationally famous cat burglar Ophelia von Hairball V adores jewels and a challenge. But when the Furry Feline Burglary Institute (FFBI) offers her the ultimate caper, there's a catch: she must team up with a fishy goldfish sidekick. Commercial audiobook. 2018.

Books of the Detective Gordon series should be read in the following order:

Detective Gordon Series. Books 1-2

by Ulf Nilsson
In The First Case, Detective Gordon, a portly old toad who happens to be the chief of police and chief of detectives in the forest, investigates the case of the missing nuts. Includes A Complicated Case. Translated from the original 2012 and 2015 Swedish editions. 2016.

A Case in Any Case

by Ulf Nilsson
When Detective Gordon retires and Buffy is left alone at the police station, she hears strange noises and decides to call Gordon in to help her with the mystery. Translated from the original 2016 Swedish edition. 2017.

A Case for Buffy

by Ulf Nilsson
The animals take on the most important case ever investigated in Detective Gordon's forest—finding Chief Detective Buffy's mother. Gordon faces his old nemesis, the fox, in an investigation that leads to the edges of the forest. Translated from the original 2017 Swedish edition. 2018.

The Mud Flat Mystery

by James Stevenson
When a large box is delivered to Duncan while he is away, the other animal inhabitants of Mud Flat are consumed with curiosity about what might be inside. 1997.

For Grades 3-6

Cam Jansen and the Mystery of the Television Dog

by David A. Adler
As Cam, her friend Eric, and Eric's twin sisters Donna and Diane wait in line at Lee's Bookstore for an autograph by Poochie, the famous television dog, a suspicious-looking man in line just ahead is holding a dog that looks exactly like Poochie. After a commotion, Cam's photographic memory tells her that the dogs have been switched. Will Cam, Eric, Donna, and Diane be able to rescue the real Poochie? 1981.

Malcolm at Midnight

by W.H. Beck
Malcolm, a smaller than average rat, loves life at McKenna School and the secret society of classroom pets that keep children out of trouble, but when Aggy the iguana disappears Malcolm must use all of his ratty persistence to prove his innocence and save her. 2012.

Ginger Pye

by Eleanor Estes
Mystery and adventure enter the lives of the Pye family when their dog Ginger disappears—spirited away, the children believe, by a stranger in a yellow hat. Newbery Medal. 1951.

Books of the Chet Gecko series should be read in the following order:

The Chameleon Wore Chartreuse: From the Tattered Casebook of Chet Gecko, Private Eye

by Bruce Hale
Shirley Chameleon hires fellow fourth grader Chet Gecko to solve the case of her missing first-grader brother, Billy. Chet uncovers a plot involving a Gila monster's revenge upon the school football team. 2000.

The Mystery of Mr. Nice: From the Tattered Casebook of Chet Gecko, Private Eye

by Bruce Hale
When the principal of his school begins acting nice to him, Chet Gecko realizes that this man is an imposter, and so sets out to find the real Principal Zero. 2000.

Farewell, My Lunchbag: From the Tattered Casebook of Chet Gecko, Private Eye

by Bruce Hale
When fourth-grade private eye Chet Gecko is called to catch someone who is stealing food from the school cafeteria, the lizard finds himself framed for the crime. 2001.

The Big Nap

by Bruce Hale
Someone is turning the students at Emerson Hicky Elementary school into zombies and it's up to fourth-grade detective Chet Gecko to find out who. 2001.

The Hamster of the Baskervilles: From the Tattered Casebook of Chet Gecko, Private Eye

by Bruce Hale
Something is trashing the classrooms at Emerson Hicky Elementary School, and fourth-grade detective Chet Gecko sets out to find the creature that's responsible. 2002.

Kazu Jones and the Denver Dognappers

by Shauna M. Holyoak
Eleven-year-old Kazuko, already well-known for "helping" the police, investigates a rash of dognappings, aided by her Japanese mastiff, Genki, and friends. 2019.

Doctor Dolittle's Zoo

by Hugh Lofting
Doctor Dolittle sets up the most wonderful zoo that has ever been dreamed of. When a puzzling mystery occurs, a detective dog helps Doctor Dolittle sniff out the solution. 1925.

A Summer in the South

by James Marshall
What promises to be a restful summer for the vacationing animals at a resort beach hotel turns into something else altogether. A haunting mummy on the prowl and a missing king's treasure enliven the scene for everyone. A slapstick mystery. 1977.

Spider Kane and the Mystery Under the May-Apple

by Mary Pope Osborne
Much to his mother's disapproval, butterfly Leon Leafwing falls madly in love with gorgeous gossamer-winged Mimi—who has a past. When Mimi is kidnapped, Leon and his friends seek out sleuth Spider Kane. They all travel to the Dark Swamp in search of Mimi, who has been forced into the service of the evil Emperor Moth. 1992.

Mystery in the Night Woods

by John Peterson
Someone is robbing banks, but who? Mischievous Flying Squirrel has gotten himself in trouble before. Maybe he can set things right with the folks in the Night Woods, if he can figure out how Weasel has done the dirty deed. 1991.

Ruff vs. Fluff

by Spencer Quinn
After a suspicious stranger comes to stay with the family who owns Blackberry Hill Inn, someone is soon framed for murder. Queenie, a cat, and Arthur, a dog, must put aside their differences and work together to investigate the crime and protect their humans. Commercial audiobook. 2019.

Books of the Bowser and Birdie series should be read in the following order:

Woof: A Bowser and Birdie Novel

by Spencer Quinn
Following the adoption of Bowser, a mutt, eleven-year-old Birdie Gaux and her grandmother get home to Grammy's bait-and-tackle shop in the bayou to discover that their prize stuffed marlin has been stolen. Bowser decides to investigate, and things quickly become complicated and dangerous. 2015.


by Spencer Quinn
When Birdie Gaux's house is broken into, her dog Bowser wants to find the man with the limeade aftershave and the cat responsible, but nobody seems to know what the culprits were looking for. Commercial audiobook. 2016.

Bow Wow

by Spencer Quinn
Eleven-year-old Birdie Gaux, her dog Bowser, and her grandmother live in the normally quiet Louisiana bayou town of St. Roch. But news that a bull shark has made its way into the swamp draws in shady hunters looking for a cash bounty. Commercial audiobook. 2017.

The Incredibly Dead Pets of Rex Dexter

by Aaron Reynolds
Cursed by a vintage game, sixth grader Rex Dexter uses his new ability to communicate with dead animals to investigate the mysterious deaths of endangered zoo animals. Commercial audiobook. 2020.

Mez's Magic

by Eliot Schrefer
Mez, a panther who discovers her magical powers after an eclipse, must unite the other animals to save Caldera from an evil force. 2018.

For Grades 4-7

Malcolm under the Stars

by W.H. Beck
When a rare coin and a strange code are uncovered in McKenna School, Malcolm and the other classroom pets of the Midnight Academy take on their most challenging assignment yet and, through their investigations, they just might save the school from closing. 2012.

The Ghost of Cutler Creek

by Cynthia C. DeFelice
Allie from The Ghost and Mrs. Hobbs (Download DB54219) is again contacted by a spirit—but it's canine! It leads Allie and friend Dub to investigate L.J., the new sixth-grade boy. After the dog from Allie's pet-sitting job goes missing, she suspects L.J.'s father is kidnapping puppies. 2004.

Jackpot; Unleashed

by Gordon Korman
In Jackpot, written in 2014, a thirty-million-dollar lottery ticket goes unclaimed, and Griffin Bing, former attack dog Luthor, and friends try to find it. In Unleashed, Luthor goes berserk whenever a suspicious truck passes. Meanwhile, Griffin Bing competes against his archenemy in an invention contest. 2015.

Smells Like Dog

by Suzanne Selfors
When Homer Pudding's famous treasure-hunter uncle is killed by a man-eating tortoise, Homer inherits a peculiar basset hound named Dog. Wanting to pick up the trail for treasure left behind by his uncle, Homer relies on the advice of his uncle to gain confidence in treasure-hunting. While on the trail, Homer and Dog discover the attempts of a ruthless museum director to find the treasure and keep it herself! 2010.

Smells Like Treasure

by Suzanne Selfors
Homer Pudding and his treasure-sniffing dog are offered membership in L.O.S.T. (Society of Legends, Objects, Secrets, and Treasures). When a girl named Lorelei challenges him the membership, they have to go on a dangerous quest to earn it. Sequel to Smells Like Dog. 2011.

The Fido Frame-Up

by Marilyn Singer
Samantha Spayed, a dog, reveals that her master, the super sleuth Philip Barlowe, would never have cracked a single case without her. Sam recounts the case of Lady Binghampton-Nuggets' stolen cameo, underlining her invaluable assistance to Barlowe, who as usual, received all the credit. A humorous spoof of the traditional detective story. 1983.

A Nose for Trouble

by Marilyn Singer
Canine detective Samantha Spayed helps her master investigate industrial espionage at a women's cosmetics company in this humorous mystery. 1985.

The Lethal Gorilla

by Paul Zindel
Amateur private investigators P.C. (Peter Christopher) Hawke and Mackenzie Riggs join Mackenzie's mother, who is the New York City coroner, on a case involving the murder of the Bronx Zoo's most famous zoologist. Villains include humans as well as wild animals. 2001.

For Grades 5-8

The Governor's Dog is Missing!

by Sneed B. Collard
A clever pair of 12-year-old sleuths scour the marbled halls of Montana's state capitol as they search for Governor Rickson's missing pet, a dog named Cat. A fast-paced and witty mystery, with dashes of history, geology, biology, and politics. 2011.

Books of the FunJungle series should be read in the following order:

Belly Up

by Stuart Gibbs
Twelve-year-old Teddy lives with his parents at the brand new FunJungle zoo in Texas, where he causes all sorts of mischief. But when park mascot Henry the hippo is found dead, Teddy believes it is murder and investigates. 2010.


by Stuart Gibbs
Teddy is the prime suspect when FunJungle's newly acquired koala goes missing. Needing to clear his name, Teddy eagerly investigates all aspects of the crime. 2014.

Big Game

by Stuart Gibbs.
Someone has taken a shot at pregnant Rhonda, FunJungle Wild Animal Park's Asian rhinoceros, and twelve-year-old Teddy Fitzroy is on the case. Commercial audiobook. 2015.


by Stuart Gibbs
Somebody kidnapped Li Ping, a rare and expensive panda from FunJungle Wild Animal Park, and Teddy sets off to investigate. Commercial audiobook. 2017.

Lion Down

by Stuart Gibbs
When a mountain lion is accused of killing a famous dog, the dog's owner wants the culprit hunted down. But the big cat might have been framed, and Teddy and a renegade animal activist try to prove it. Commercial audiobook. 2019.

The Thieves of Ostia: A Roman Mystery

by Caroline Lawrence
In the Roman port of Ostia in A.D. 79, Flavia Gemina solves her first mystery with the help of unlikely friends. When Jonathan's pet and other dogs are found beheaded, Flavia wants to find out who is doing it and why. But sleuthing has its dangers. Some violence. 2001.

Lord of the Kill

by Theodore Taylor
With his parents in India, sixteen-year-old Ben Jepson is in charge of Los Coyotes Preserve, a family-run refuge for big cats near Los Angeles. Two powerful groups try to shut down the shelter by intimidation, murder, and kidnapping the largest tiger in captivity. 2002.

For Grades 6-9


by John W. Chambers
A stray dog that attaches himself to Jenny Martin leads her and her friends to a mysterious house hidden in the dunes of Fire Island, where two men seem to be holding a young boy hostage. 1981.

Books of the Hermux Tantamoq Adventure series should be read in the following order:

Time Stops for No Mouse

by Michael Hoeye
Linka Perflinger, a jaunty mouse, brings a damaged watch to Hermux Tantamoq's shop for urgent repairs and then disappears. Hermux is caught up in a world of danger, searching for eternal youth as he tries to find out what happened to her. 1999.

The Sands of Time

by Michael Hoeye
Despite fierce opposition from mouse supremacists and other residents of Pinchester, three mice team up with an old chipmunk to prove that there existed, long before the time of mice, a Cat Kingdom. 2002.

No Time like Show Time

by Michael Hoeye
Watchmaker mouse Hermux Tantamoq enters the exciting and somewhat shady world of show business to investigate a mysterious blackmailer at the Varmint Theater. 2004.

Time to Smell the Roses

by Michael Hoeye
While immersed in wedding plans, Hermux, the watchmaker mouse detective, is hired to find the heir of the DeRosenquill rose dynasty. During the search, Hermux discovers a homeless teenager, fields of dying flowers, and killer bees. 2007.

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