Wesley Booth Super Sleuth by Adam Cece

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Ill. by Michel Streich. Omnibus Books for Scholastic; 2015. ISBN 9781742991016
(Age: 8-12) Highly recommended. Themes: Mystery; Friendship; Family and family breakdown. Adam Cece, a local South Australian author has written a delightful tale for young readers aged 8-12. Wesley Booth is an eccentric boy who is a self-proclaimed 'Super Sleuth' who enthusiastically tells of his skills. His detective abilities rely on an efficient system of recording clues and he relies on a faithful side-kick to support him as he attempts to solve unusual problems. His family are 'interesting'! His mother creates gift baskets (with limited financial success), his geologist father tells exceptionally lame Dad-jokes with a Rock theme and his older brother is attempting to become a Rock Star (of the musical variety) with extremely limited talent! Financial strain puts pressure on the family, with the risk of a major rift, but this is not the main drama of this story. Wesley (the legend in his own case book) is surrounded by an equally peculiar friendship group, but their harmony is disrupted when the new girl, Cassidy Strong arrives at their school. Her competitive detective skills put Wesley at risk of losing his Super Sleuth status, and a major crime spree at their school puts them all into concentrated competitive sleuthing-mode at the expense of their school work. A major explosion and a clever revelation eventually lead to Wesley's restoration to the role of 'Super Sleuth' at school. However despite this success, we realise that Wesley is far from self-aware, and is likely to get himself into plenty of strife as he solves other people's problems.
This book contains more text than The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, but the humour is similar and will be enjoyed by many in the target age group. The cartoon-style illustrations by Michel Streich are scattered throughout the chapters, adding to the text, but not dominating.
This can be highly recommended, and will be enjoyed for its humourous view of life told from a child's perspective.
Carolyn Hull