Today, Kate shares a great chapter book series that will inspire a love of mysteries:
My 6-year-old daughter has been slow to warm to chapter books, and I can't say that I've rushed her to move away from the lush and thoughtful world of picture books. Recently, though, we received a bag of hand-me-down chapter books, including several volumes in Marjorie Sharmat's wonderful Nate the Great series.
Started in the early 1970s, the Nate the Great series features a slightly off-kilter universe made up entirely of children, their pets, and small neighborhood mysteries. Nate, fueled by pancakes and accompanied by his dog Sludge, uses clues to track down missing cats, lost keys, misplaced grocery lists, and the sources of spooky noises. The mysteries are fun, but the charm of the books comes from their quirky characters, equally quirky illustrations, and Nate's deadpan, hard-boiled interior monologues (often centering on pancakes).
I have fond memories of the Nate series from my own childhood and have been pleased to see how they have grabbed my daughter's attention. Because of Sharmat's books, my daughter is now intrigued by the concept of a mystery, and I expect that we will spend many happy bedtimes reading more Nate books.