Review Blog

Apr 16 2018

The great Shelby Holmes meets her match by Elizabeth Eulberg

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Bloomsbury, 2018. ISBN 9781408871492
(Age: 8-10) Recommended. Themes: Detective stories, School stories, Juvenile Diabetes. Feisty nine-year-old girl detective Shelby Holmes returns to solve a new mystery and confront an old enemy. With her friend and mystery-solving partner John Watson they are ready to face new challenges. Both are attending a new school - the Harlem Academy of the Arts, in the same year level because Shelby's 'brain attic', her knowledge and deductive abilities have helped her skip two grades.
John has experienced new schools and different places and as an army kid, and is confident about their fitting in, however he's concerned about Shelby's unique style, her lack of reading social cues and bluntly pointing out everyone's secrets which causes problems. Shelby delves into the background of the mysterious new teacher Mr. Crosby and his missing heirloom watch. They face problems caused by Shelby's nemesis Moira who hacks the school director's email, steals Mr. Johnson's watch and locks Shelby and John up in a basement boiler room. Here, John who has juvenile diabetes suffers a medical incident and Shelby desperately and creatively finds someone to help him.
Eulberg includes numerous references to the original Sherlock Holmes stories, which may be beyond her reading audience's background knowledge. Interestingly, she includes descriptions of the white students' skin tones as a point of reference. Matt Robertson's cartoon drawings are entertaining: there's Shelby's unique hairstyle, smoke bombs exploding and eyes appearing from the darkness.
Shelby Holmes meets her match has themes of friendship, solving mysteries and overcoming worry and anxiety, and is an enjoyable novel suited to ages 8-10.
Rhyllis Bignell

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