Sherlock Bones and the Sea-Creature Feature by Renee Treml
Allen and Unwin, 2020. ISBN: 9781760525262.
Highly recommended for ages 7-12. This is the second entertaining and educational graphic novel in the Sherlock Bones series by author and illustrator Renee Treml.
Sherlock Bones is a tawny frogmouth skeleton who lives in a museum with his two trusty sidekicks, Grace and Watts. Grace is a lively, chocolate-obsessed raccoon while clever Watts manages to keep up and share his great sense of humour despite technically being a taxidermied parrot.
When the trio overhear rumours of a monster and a missing octopus in the new Reef to Shore exhibit they embark on a fun mystery monster hunt. Their hunt takes them through the museum while they tell jokes, interact with displays, learn new words and facts, meet interesting creatures and try to crack open a secret chocolate device.
The mystery has a few twists along the way and comes to a satisfying end. At 291 pages this is a considerable size novel, but manageable chapters, a fast-paced story and plenty of full-page illustration panels make it an easy page-turner.
This novel is ideal to share with younger readers who will appreciate the obvious humour and engaging grayscale illustrations. Older readers will enjoy looking for the extra small details in the illustrations, including the scientific names and facts on various labels and signs displayed throughout the museum.
Renee Treml has used her background in environmental science along with her experience in children's writing to create a truly enjoyable follow-up to her first graphic novel, Sherlock Bones and the Natural History Mystery. Teacher's tips are available.