Simon and Chester: Super Detectives!

Tundra. Feb. 2021. 64p. Tr $12.99. ISBN 9780735267428.
Gr 2-4–A little boy, Chester, and his ghost friend, Simon, attempt to stave off the boredom of a rainy day by digging around the attic for costumes. Simon would rather be writing his mystery novel, but when they find a deerstalker hat, the game is afoot—or it would be, if Simon had feet. A case comes to them in the form of a stray pug. Who does he belong to, and why is he in Chester’s house? They search the premises for clues and take to the streets. Simon goes to extremes, even creating an elaborate bulletin board with yarn connecting the clues, while Chester takes a more straightforward approach, checking to see if the dog has a collar. Clues to the mystery are sprinkled through the story, and the resolution will test the limits of their friendship. Readers may recognize the pair from Atkinson’s 2018 picture book, Sir Simon: Super Scarer, which establishes the origins of their friendship (Simon, a professional ghost, is transferred to Chester and his grandmother’s house but gives up the haunting gig in favor of simply becoming Chester’s pal). Simon may be a ghost, but he’s not exactly haunting. His friendship with Chester is warm and inviting, even as they work through differences. Atkinson’s illustrations ooze fun, relying on a cheery palette and depicting rounded characters with oversize heads. Both Chester and his grandmother are brown-skinned; Simon is a pale, floating orb-shaped creature.
VERDICT Simon and Chester make a delightful detective duo; aspiring sleuths will snap this one up.

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