Books Crime, Thriller, Mysteries and Puzzles Early Readers Genre Lifespan of a Reader Mystery & Crime Picture Books Reading Themes

[Saturday Reads] 5 Mystery-Themed Picturebooks That Feature Animals

Check out these animals on the case...and also on the loose!


Fats here.

Every Saturday we hope to share with you our thoughts on reading and books. We thought that it would be good practice to reflect on our reading lives and our thoughts about reading in general. While on occasion, we would feature a few books in keeping with this, there would be a few posts where we will just write about our thoughts on read-alouds, libraries, reading journals, upcoming literary conferences, books that we are excited about, and just book love miscellany in general.


Howdy, mystery lovers! When I was searching for titles for our current theme, I came across two picturebooks that feature animals as detectives. This gave me the idea to put a short list together. Check out these animals on the case—and also on the loose!

0908aShark Detective!

Written and illustrated by Jessica Olien
Published by Balzer + Bray (2015)
ISBN-13: 978-0062357144
Copy provided by Cleveland Public Library.

“During the day, Shark lived a lonely life in the big city… but at night, he dreamed of being a detective. When a kitty goes missing, could it be time for Shark’s dreams to finally come true? This sweet and funny story about an unexpected friendship will delight creatures of all ages.”

The shark on the cover reminded of a Moomintroll wearing a deerstalker hat. I love it! The large font and quirky illustrations will appeal to young readers. A cute story about helping others. Shark Detective! is geared toward kids ages 4-8 and a perfect read-aloud for preschool kids.

0908bWhobert Whover,
Owl Detective

Written by Jason Gallaher
Illustrated by Jess Pauwels
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books (2017)
ISBN-13: 978-1481462716
Copy provided by Kirtland Public Library.

“Help Whobert Whover, Owl Detective, keep his woods safe in this hilarious who-who-dun-it. What happened to Perry the Possum? Whobert Whover, Owl Detective, is on the case! Did Debbie the Duck whack Perry with her wicked wings? Or did Freddie the Frog soak Perry in his sickening slime? And what if the culprit is closer to home than Whobert expects?”

Who, who, who done it?! Owl detective, Whobert Whover, is on the case—and what a hoot! Follow the goofy owl detective as he tries to find out what happened to Perry the Possum. It’s a riotous stroll in the woods and the answer to the puzzling case is certainly not something readers would expect. Gorgeous and vibrant illustrations by Belgian artist Jess Pauwels make every page burst into life! Another take-home for the little ones!

0908cThe Detective Dog

Written by Julia Donaldson
Illustrated by Sara Ogilvie
Published by Godwin Books (2016)
ISBN-13: 978-1250156761
Copy provided by Elyria Public Library.

“Whether it’s finding a lost shoe or locating a bounce-away ball, Peter’s dog, Nell, has an amazing sense of smell. But Nell has other talents, too. Every Monday, she goes to school with Peter and listens to children reading. When they arrive one morning to discover that the books have all disappeared, Detective Dog Nell is ready to solve the case.”

This book contains more text than the other two mentioned above. This is a sweet tale of a dog who loves a good mystery. Nell reminds me of the dogs that come to the Paws to Read program in the Children’s Department of our library. This book is particularly dear to my heart because of its emphasis on reading and the importance of libraries.

0908dWanted! Ralfy Rabbit,
Book Burglar

Written and illustrated by Emily MacKenzie
Published by Bloomsbury (2015)
ISBN-13: 978-1681192208
Copy provided by Hudson Library & Historical Society.

“Meet Ralfy. He LOVES to read. Some rabbits love carrots and lettuce. Others love flower meadows and juicy dandelions. But not Ralfy—he likes BOOKS. In fact, he loves them so much that he starts stealing them. Then a little boy named Arthur catches a glimpse of Ralfy, and now everybody is looking for the bunny book thief. Ralfy is up to his whiskers in trouble! Can he find a way to leave his thieving ways behind and keep reading?”

Ralfy is my spirit animal, minus the book-stealing part, of course! I love the typeset used in the book and Emily MacKenzie’s illustrations are as adorable as Ralfy Rabbit. Another delightful picturebook that promotes reading and library use!

0908eShifty McGifty and Slippery Sam

Written by Tracey Corderoy
Illustrated by Steven Lenton
Published by Nosy Crow (2013)
ISBN-13: 978-0763668389
Copy provided by Wayne County Public Library.

“Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam are two hapless robber dogs who decide the perfect way to rob their neighbors would be to invite them over for a lovely tea party. The only problem is they’ve never baked a cupcake or pastry in their lives. Could this be the change of pace they’ve been looking for? A funny, quirky story, deliciously dished up!”

This book is perfect for kids who love dogs. Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam didn’t know they had it in them when they threw a scrumptious tea party for their neighbors. I’ve been obsessing over The Great British Baking Show (also known as The Great British Bake Off) that I was pleased with how these two robber dogs turned their lives around. After all, who can say no to cupcakes?

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2 comments on “[Saturday Reads] 5 Mystery-Themed Picturebooks That Feature Animals

  1. Oh em gee! Love this list!!! 🙂 When I was looking for related titles, I didn’t see these, so am happy you shared it here.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jason Gallaher

    I’m so glad you thought Whobert was a hoot! Thanks for sharing with your readers!

    Liked by 1 person

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