Welcome! Like the book of the same name, this blog is an eclectic collection of Sherlockian scribblings based on more than a half-century of reading Sherlock Holmes. Please add your own thoughts. You can also follow me on Twitter @DanAndriacco and on my Facebook fan page at Dan Andriacco Mysteries. You might also be interested in my Amazon Author Page. My books are also available at Barnes & Noble and in all main electronic formats including Kindle, Nook, Kobo and iBooks for the iPad.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Sherlock Holmes for Young Readers

Sometimes it helps to clean house. Ann recently found three Sherlock Holmes books she had acquired for me over the years. All are aimed at children (which may say something about my mental or emotional age).

Sherlock Holmes in The Hound of the Baskervilles, A BabytLit Sounds Primer by Jennifer Adams with art by Alison Oliver is for the very youngest Sherlockians. It consists of just 10 pairs of words teaching about sounds, from "HOUNDS HOWL" to "DOORBELLS RING." The last is nicely illustrated with the door to 221B. This is a delightful book, and I'm glad that I saw a copy at our youngest granddaughter's house.

The Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes, adapted by Judith Conaway, is part of the Stepping Stones series of chapter books based on literary classics. It includes three well-chosen tales - "The Adventure of the Speckled Band," "The Adventure of the Red-Headed League," and "The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle."

In general, the adapter does a good job - keeping the Watson perspective and most of the storyline. The need to compress creates some disappointments, however. There are no brilliant deductions at the beginning of the stories, and no Dr. Roylott showing up at Baker Street to bend the fireplace poker. Two of the three stories end with wordplay that kids might like but is non-canonical.

I liked the illustrations by Lyle Miller except that Holmes's hair is too bushy and his sideburns too long.

The biggest surprise to me of this trio was the Can You Survive Version? of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, adapted by Ryan Jacobson and Deb Mercier. This is a Choose-Your-Path book, the first I've ever read, and I was impressed by its ingenuity.

The setup is that Holmes and Watson - and you, dear reader, are Holmes - have three cases to solve. And one of them is a trap set by Professor Moriarty. If you make a mistake, you could die. Death or disgrace is a real possibility. If you make the wrong choice, that is your fate as Sherlock Holmes.

The cases are familiar ones - once again "The Red-Headed League" and "The Speckled Band," with the third being a surprising version of "The Engineer's Thumb" in which Holmes plays the Victor Hatherley role.

Ryan Jacobson also provides a nice introduction, which advises the reader to consider this book a short introduction to Sherlock Holmes. "When you reach a time, now or in the future, where it is appropriate for you to do so, I encourage you to read The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes in its entirety." That's great advice for any young Sherlock Holmes.

No comments:

Post a Comment