Picture Book Recommendation: THE GREAT GUMSHOE

Cover of The Great GumshoeLooking for mystery, suspense, and teddy bears? Yes, of course you are, because kids lose their teddy bears ALL THE TIME. Ok, maybe that’s just my kid. Whatever…

“I’ll never forget the day she walked into my life.”

So begins the story of The Great Gumshoe, an easy-to-read picture book mystery best suited for kindergarteners or first graders. The Great Gumshoe follows a film noir style of storytelling, although without all the cynicism or innuendo. Now, I know what you’re thinking… How you can you have film noir style without cynicism or innuendo? Hey, I don’t know, but it works. Charlotte has lost her teddy bear and needs help, so she enlists the aid of the Great Gumshoe and the two of them search and search until finally they get a clue:

“There were cookies on two of the plates, and the third one had a fish. Teddy had been here.”

Did someone kidnap teddy? Or did Charlotte simply misplace him? Kids will be wondering as they read independently. The font is large and bold like you’d see in an early reader. Also, the vocabulary is simple enough that kids learning to read will recognize many sight words. There’s also enough variety that I see this as being a good story for a preschooler or kindergartener who wants something slightly more challenging than the Dick & Jane style of many early readers.

Of course, you’ll need to be nearby while kids are reading because they may get tripped up on the occasional long word like “magnifying.” But really, can you have a detective without a magnifying glass? Well, you could, but he wouldn’t be as cool as The Great Gumshoe.


Mystery, Teddy Bears, Comfort Objects, Loss


Get kids thinking with Mystery Boxes. Parents.com lists this project as being for toddlers, but just asking questions before letting kids see what’s in the box makes it fun for school-age kids.

Embrace your inner gumshoe by making your own magnifying glass. Beware, this craft by Kiddies DIY needs adult assistance as it requires a glue gun.

For a great classroom or library activity, check out this YouTube video Mystery Bag: Developing Oral Language Skills in Pre-Kindergarten.

Great Schools has an activity called Be The Detective that will help aid children’s comprehension when reading.

Perfect Picture Book List on Susanna Leonard Hill’s Blog

100 Libraries in 100 Days: An IndiGoGo campaign by Amanda Litz

Bibliographic Info:

Author: Amanda Litz
Illustrator: Christy Beckwith
Reading level: 4-6
Paperback: 32 pages
Publisher: Traveler’s Trunk Publishing (2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0984149643
ISBN-13: 978-0984149643