The Great Shelby Holmes

240p. Bloomsbury. Sept. 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781681190518. POP
Gr 3–6—Shelby Holmes is a plucky sixth-grade detective known for solving problems in her Harlem neighborhood. John Watson is a self-proclaimed army brat dealing with his parents' divorce and a move to what he hopes will be his forever home. When Watson moves into Shelby's building, Shelby discovers that friendship might be the greatest mystery of all. This middle grade retelling of the classic Sherlock Holmes/Watson relationship will delight readers as they attempt to solve the mystery of a missing dog. Told from Watson's perspective, this title introduces readers to Shelby's curt behavior in a manner that allows them to empathize with the girl as she learns how to be a friend. Ample time is also given to Watson's journey from detective's assistant to a full-fledged partner. Secondary plots about Watson coping with his parents' divorce and the difficulties of making new friends when he frequently moves will appeal to a large group of readers. The overall message of accepting others is made without seeming overly preachy. Readers will look forward to the conclusion of the mystery and will anxiously anticipate additional books in the series.
VERDICT Eulberg's middle grade debut is a first purchase for mystery lovers.

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