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The Great Shelby Holmes: Girl Detective Hardcover – September 6, 2016
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From School Library Journal
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.—Ashley Leffel, Griffin Middle School, Frisco, TX
“Who needs Sherlock when you’ve got Shelby Holmes on the case? This smart, funny mystery brings all the charm of the classic Holmes and Watson stories to a fresh, contemporary setting. Watch out readers - the game is afoot!” - Varian Johnson, author of THE GREAT GREENE HEIST and TO CATCH A CHEAT
“In this series opener, Eulberg (We Can Work It Out) creates a lively present-day update of Sherlock Holmes, one with plenty of winks to the source material. Readers will delight in Shelby's ability to read clues in this well-plotted mystery and sympathize with Watson who, along with the rest of the supporting cast, is generally two steps behind Shelby.” - Publishers Weekly
“Fun, fresh and unputdownable. I loved, loved, LOVED it!” - Sarah Mlynowski, New York Times bestselling author of the Whatever After series
“Young Shelby may be hunting for a lost spaniel rather than the Hound of the Baskervilles but she is no less dogged a detective than Sherlock himself. And even a legendary malcontent like S. Holmes or P. Bosch will be moved by the friendship at the heart of this riveting mystery. It’s only logical that you should read it at once.” - Pseudonymous Bosch, New York Times bestselling author of The Secret Series and the Bad Books
“Brisk pacing, likable characters, a few silly Holmes jokes and a diverse neighborhood, carefully and realistically described by John, are ingredients for success. A smart, fresh take on an old favorite makes for a terrific series kickoff.” - Kirkus Reviews
“Will delight readers as they attempt to solve the mystery of a missing dog. Eulberg's middle grade debut is a first purchase for mystery lovers.” - School Library Journal
“Mystery fans may try to solve the case, but most, like John, will enjoy just hanging out with Shelby to see what happens next.” - Booklist
“Readers will delight in Shelby’s ability to read clues in this well-plotted mystery and sympathize with Watson who, along with the rest of the supporting cast, is generally two steps behind Shelby.” - Publisher's Weekly
“Young readers will admire the super sleuth and her equally likable sidekick. Perfect for mystery fans.” - School Library Connection
“Eulberg obviously has a fine time with Holmesian references . . . middle- grade readers . . . may simply enjoy getting in on the ground floor of a new mystery series.” - BCCB
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Top customer reviews
John Watson and his mother have just moved into the building where Shelby lives. He is lonely and anxious to meet other kids his age. His parents have recently divorced and because his father is in the Army, there’s been a lot of moving. Now his mother assures him that they are here to stay.
When John meets Shelby on the steps of the apartment building one morning, he has no idea that he has just met someone who will, not only introduce him to boys his age, but engage him in one of the greatest adventures he’s ever had. John is obedient, respectful and somewhat shy but rather taken aback by this strange little girl. Shelby seems “distant” and in her own world. According to her, she doesn’t really need “friends”. But since she knows her way around the Harlem neighborhood it can’t hurt to hang out with her for a while.
Before you know it John has become “Watson” to Shelby’s “Holmes” and they are engaged in a wild caper. Someone has taken a show dog and Shelby has been asked to help find both the dog and the culprit. Now what has John gotten himself into? His mother cautions him to stay out of trouble. But, john is hooked and just maybe this is a chance to meet new friends.
With nods to Sir Author Conan Doyle, author Elizabeth Eulberg has created two very likable characters. Readers will be engaged from the very first page of this fun, touching and exciting story. Like Nancy Springer’s books on Enola Holmes (Sherlocks younger sister), Shelby and John bring another perspective for a pre-teen audience to enjoy the sleuthing wonders of the Holmes legacy. No doubt there will be more adventures ahead. Let’s stay tuned!
Reviewed by Sally Tibbets
Well, it was a really good book. Let’s break down the book a little.
Holmes, Watson, Lestrade, and Mrs. Hudson are all a part of this book. John Watson moves to Harlam after his mother gets out of the army. Watson’s mom is an army doctor who has an injured leg, while John Watson is the one who writes in his journal, reliving the experiences of his time with Holmes. Watson is a rising 6th grader and so is Holmes, but Holmes is only nine years old.
Obviously, Shelby Holmes is really intelligent, and she has many of the same characteristics of Sherlock Holmes that we see in shows/movies today. She is really sharp and able to pick up on clues that everyone else has missed. She can also can come off as really rude and doesn’t have any friends before she meets Watson. But can Holmes actually have a friend?
This is the first book in what I assume will be a series, and the book does a great job introducing the characters of Shelby Holmes and John Watson. As a sixth grade teacher, I see a lot of similarities to students I teach in John Watson. He’s nervous about making new friends at his new school, he really wants to make friends, and at one point didn’t like Shelby but kept hanging out with her because he wanted a new friend. He just really wants to fit in.
Holmes must solve a dog napping of a very wealthy classmate’s dog. While that doesn’t seem like a great plot, Eulberg pacing and plot keep you on your toes until the end, always guessing who was actually behind the missing dog. A good writer can make anything amazing, and Eulberg succeeds in making this book flow.
I highly recommend this book to any readers who like a good mystery. It’s also a great way to introduce readers to Sherlock Holmes, and I will totally be picking up the sequel in this book if one comes.
It's a very clean book, nothing to object about. I didn't understand how Shelby came up with all her conclusions, and I don't know how they can all necessarily be true, but...that's the plot. Loved the pictures...loved her sassy nature...loved John's normal nature!
Glad to see there's a Book 2!
Most recent customer reviews
An e-galley was provided by the publisher in exchange for review consideration.
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