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Making a Mystery Book

February 14, 2017

Here is a simple book that children can easily make.  All you need is paper, scissors, ribbon and glue.

This little book reveals a simple mystery in four clues that are unfolded to reveal the subject of the mystery.  It’s simple to make, great for classroom or homeschool use, and it’s a fun gift to give to a teacher or family member.

This little book form can be used to do a short “Guess Who” book using four facts from a biography;   a “Guess What” book using a riddle that has 4 clues;  or a “Guess Who Said That” book using 4 quotes from famous people. 

I chose to make one about Jane Goodall using the book Me…Jane  by Patrick McDonnell.  So, my little book is a “Guess Who” book that will write four clues inside.

The first thing you must do is to make a grid on a 8.5” x 11” paper making three columns up and three across.  Then you will mark the corner rectangles and cut them out so that you have what looks like a cross.  The center is where you will put the answer to your question.  I will put a picture of Jane Goodall in the center. 

Then you fold each of the flaps into the center, so that someone opens the book one flap at a time. 

Once it’s folded, the paper fits neatly centered on a bright sheet of 5 x 7 paper (you can find bright papers at most craft stores, or you can make your own with paint)  Glue the paper in the center and then fold both sides over to form the book.   

You can write the words “Guess Who”, “Guess What” or “Who Said That?”  above the folded pages, then write your four clues - one on the front of each flap, so that you open them one at a time to reveal the center.  Write your answer in the center, or glue on a picture of your person or object. 

Glue a ribbon onto the back of the cover, then when you fold the book up, you can tie a bow to keep it closed.

My clues for Jane Goodall: 

  • As a little girl, she loved her stuffed chimpanzee named Jubilee.
  • She kept a journal with drawings of, and facts about, African animals.
  • She was inspired by the book Tarzan, which had a character with her name. She imagined traveling to Africa.
  • Her most famous work was her study of chimpanzees at the Gombe Stream Game Reserve in Tanzania.

Have fun making your mystery book! 

For more ideas on making books with children, check out this website called about the work of visual artist, Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord. Susan has been making books with children since the 1980′s and you should check out her website to find lots more great ideas.