After Carolyn Haywood's B is for Betsy books, the first books I remember reading are Encyclopedia Brown. My mother and I would sit in a rocking chair, take turns reading, and try to solve the mysteries. Of course, when I was reading these, there were only a handful published, and the illustrations were beautifully 1960s. Encyclopedia had a tendency to wear striped shirts. These are still popular with my students, which is why I was able to send a circulation card to Mr. Sobol. Imagine my excitement when I got a letter back from him, as well as a copy of book #20! What a nice man.
I was surprised that the mysteries were rather difficult to solve. It was necessary to read the stories very carefully and hang on to every clue. This is something students don't frequently need to do, so these are great books for them to read. They are not generally too long, and the reading level is low, but this does not mean that the mysteries are challenging. Definitely worth it to keep some of these in a middle school library!
In other news, there is a brand new blog that you might want to check out-- Picky Reader. After reading all the posts I made about her reading, my youngest daughter has decided to blog on her own. We'll see how she does!