Charlie’s Room: The Mystery

“Charlie, why aren’t you in your pajamas yet?”

Charlie stood up and turned to face Isaac, who was standing in the doorway.   “I can’t find the dinosaur book we were reading.”

“I’ll go check the other bookshelves while you get changed. Did you brush your teeth?”

Charlie grinned widely, showing all his teeth. “Yes. See?”

Isaac nodded. “Very good. I’ll go look around. Sometimes books go wandering and visit their other book friends.”

Charlie laughed. “All right. I’ll get changed. I want to hear the next chapter. I can’t believe the aliens were hiding in the pyramid.”

“Maybe they had a teleporter inside,” Isaac said.

“If they did, they stole the technology from the dinosaurs. Everyone knows the dinosaurs invented teleporters.”   Charlie looked back at the bookshelf.   “I hope we find the book. I want to know what happens next.”

“I’ll go look.” Isaac sighed. “It’s too bad your mom isn’t here. She’s always been really good at finding things. It’s one of her talents.”

“She makes the best cookies too.” Charlie looked down and scuffed his feet against the rug, making a dark line where he’d shoved some of the fibers out of place. “Is she going to call before bedtime?”

“The plane won’t land for another hour. So, you’ll have to wait and talk to her tomorrow morning.”


Isaac checked the bookshelves and counters and under the couch and on his desk. He couldn’t find the book. Charlie, changed into his favorite dinosaur pajamas, helped him look. The book stayed missing.

Charlie tapped his fingers against his chin. “It’s a mystery. We should look for clues.”

“Where was the last place you saw it?” Isaac rummaged through a desk drawer and pulled out a notebook. He took a pen from the ceramic pot Isaac made at school for father’s day.

“Hmmmm. We put it back on the bookshelf last night.” Charlie frowned and watched Isaac write bookshelf. “But I already looked there.”

“But were you looking for clues?”

Charlie grinned. “Good point. Let’s go check.”

They raced back to Charlie’s room. They looked on the bookshelf. Charlie traced a finger along the familiar row of book spines.   “The books are out of order.”

Isaac bent down and traced his finger along the same path. “You’re right.” He wrote books in the notebook.

“But who could have rearranged the books and taken the dinosaur book?” Charlie knelt down and looked closely at the floor. “I don’t see any footprints. It’s too bad there hasn’t been any rain lately. Mud makes the nicest footprints.”

Isaac crouched next to Charlie. “You’re right. No footprints.” He looked around. “What’s that?”

Charlie looked where Isaac was pointing and then dove under the chair.   He sat back, clutching the dinosaur bookmark that had marked their place in the book last night. “Another clue! Do you think we can check it for fingerprints?”

“Probably not. You probably smeared them when you picked it up.” Isaac wrote bookmark.

“Oh.” Charlie looked down at the bookmark sadly. “Then how will we catch the burglar?”

“Maybe there isn’t a burglar,” Isaac said.

“What do you mean?”

“Well, I don’t think anything else is missing.” He set down the notebook.

Charlie nodded. “That is strange. Who would come into our house just to steal our dinosaur book?”

“Your mom likes to take a book on the airplane when she goes on trips,” Isaac said. “I don’t think she had time to check something out from the library.”

“But we were reading that one. She wouldn’t have taken it. Our bookmark was in it.” Charlie looked down at the bookmark in his hands. “Oh. Maybe it fell out when she took it off the shelf.”

“I think that sounds reasonable. What should we do?”

Charlie tapped his fingers against his chin. “I think… I think we should read a different story while Mom is gone.   Maybe the one about the dinosaurs and the pirates. And I think when we talk to Mom in the morning, we can see if we were right.”

“Good thinking.” Isaac ruffled Charlie’s hair and grinned. “Let’s say prayers, and then you can climb into bed and I’ll start reading.”

In the morning, Charlie answered the phone when he saw Marianne’s name on the screen. “Mom! Did you take my dinosaur book? The one where they go to Egypt?”

“I did. How did you know?”

“Dad and I are detectives.” Charlie frowned. “We were still reading that one.   Now I won’t know what happened at the pyramids until you get back.”

“I’m sorry dear,” Marianne said. “If you’d like, I can call at bedtime and read you the next chapter.”

“Okay,” Charlie said. “I’ll put you on speakerphone so Dad can hear. He wants to know what happens next too.”

“Good thinking. I’ll call tonight.”

“Thanks, Mom.”