American Girl Publishing

danger at the zoo: a kit mystery, american girl mysteries


Agatha Award Nominee
Best Children’s Mystery
— Malice Domestic

Ranked in Top 1%
of US Print Book Sales
for 539 Days to Date
— Nielsen BookScan



Kit Kittredge drew a deep breath as she paused outside the big brick building that housed Cincinnati's newspaper. Maybe today my dream of becoming a reporter will begin coming true! she thought.

Thus begins Kathleen's Agatha Award-nominated Kit mystery book, which is also her fourth American Girl story, and ninth published book. Written for readers age 9 and up, it is one of the author's most popular.

Story Description

Kit Kittredge is back, in a mystery that takes place at the Cincinnati Zoo! Kit lands a summer job writing a children's column for her local newspaper and looks for story ideas at the Cincinnati Zoo where her friend Stirling works as a guide and her old friend Will, the hobo, has a job cleaning cages.

As Kit noses around, she stumbles into some strange activities in the monkey house. Meanwhile, Kit begins to notice small things missing at home too. It's not long before Will looks like the logical suspect in both places. Can Kit clear her friend--and get a good story in the bargain? Fireworks fly as Kit's mystery is solved at the zoo's grand Fourth of July spectacular.

This book includes a richly illustrated "Peak Into The Past" essay. Originally published as a 192-page story in softcover and hardcover, it is still available in multiple ebook formats.

What Others Are Saying

School Library Journal graphic. School Library Journal
Book Review

"Those who love 'American Girl' books will be clamoring for it." 
Ohio Library Association
Book Review

"With equal parts suspense and intrigue, Danger at the Zoo will hold middle grade readers' imaginations until its swift and satisfying conclusion."

About the Author

Bestselling author Kathleen Ernst writes award-winning mysteries, historical fiction, and non-fiction for adults and young readers.

Her work has earned numerous honors, including two lifetime writing achievement awards, an Emmy for educational television, and an Edgar Allan Poe and multiple Agatha Christie mystery award nominations.

To date nearly 1.8 million audio, ebook, and print copies of Kathleen's thirty-eight published books have been purchased. more>>

Related Blog Posts

Enjoy the author's insights about the story, characters, and settings.

The Stories Behind The Story

Photo of a 1930's postcard showing Susie the Gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo. I was working at my computer one day when my editor from American Girl called to ask if I’d like to try writing a mystery about Kit.  I was excited about the idea, but a little nervous too.... more>>












Where to Buy

American Girl has 're-branded' the Kit books, dropping this and other titles. Fortunately this Kit story is still available as an ebook from the vendors listed below.

NOTE: You can buy 'as new' softcover and hardcover copies of Danger At The Zoo—while supplies last—directly from me, signed and personalized as desired. Request a quote by clicking HERE.

 Buy from Amazon.com KINDLE eBOOK
Buy from Barnes & Noble NOOK eBOOK
Apple iTunes Store logo. iBOOKS eBOOK

Author's Note

Researching a novel can be hard work.  For this one, I had to spend a day visiting the Cincinnatti Zoo!  Don’t you feel sorry for me?  …No, I didn’t think so.

I chose to write a mystery that was partly set at a zoo because I love animals.  This is one of my bestselling books—so far, anyway—so I think lots of readers must love animals too!  This story is about more than fun times.  It’s about loyalty, and trust, and friendship.  It’s about a girl smart and brave enough to look for answers in times of trouble. Enjoy! 


Free Goodies

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Monkey House Video

Much of Danger In The Zoo takes place at the Cincinnati Zoo. Key scenes in the book are set in what in 1934 was called the Monkey House. It still survives and can be visited. This video tells about the building's history and renovation.  PLAY.

Cincinnati Zoo - Historic Monkey House Renovation

Kit's World 1934

To see a bigger copy of this illustration showing Kit Kittredge running an errand in her hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1934, click on the image below.

Kit Kitteridge's World - Cincinnati Ohio - 1934