SMART List #2: Mystery Treatments (for laziness)

When I was a kid, there was always this point in my summer holiday, usually about the third or fourth week into July, when the full laziness of my situation would overwhelm me. It was about this time that my sister and I would start hating each other’s guts (having had enough of the pleasures of the Slip n’ Slide for another season), and I wouldn’t know what to do with myself. One way to shake myself out of this state was to take one complete day to sink down into a good mystery and read it cover-to-cover, only getting up from my nest to replenish snacks and lemonade. It always seemed that by the end of the book the reading had somehow sucked all of the laziness out of me, and I was ready to return to the real-world the next day, eager for more summer action.

Here is a list of effective mystery treatments (a rainy day is best for this sort of thing, and really, I find that the treatment works well at any time of the year):

The Eleventh Hour – Graeme Base (7+)

The Mysteries of Harris Burdick – Chris Van Allsburg (7+)

Bunnicula – James Howe (7+)

Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective – Donald Sobol (8+)

Coraline – Neil Gaiman (9+, weird-creepy… not for all 9 year olds)

Harriet the Spy – Louise Fitzhugh (9+)

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler – E.L. Konigsburg (10+)

Hannah West series – Linda Johns (9+)

Chasing Vermeer (and The Wright 3) – Blue Balliett (10+)

Down the Rabbit Hole – Peter Abrahams (10+)

Young Bond: Silver Fin – Charlie Higson (10+)

The Face on the Milk Carton – Caroline Cooney (teen)

Gilda Joyce: Psychic Investigator Jennifer Allison (12+)

The Westing Game – Ellen Raskin (teen *could appeal to brainy 11 or 12 year old)

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night time – Mark Haddon (teen)

Come to think of it, I’m feeling a tad lazy right now….


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