Charming and funny, this winning adventure also finds time for its middle school sleuths to develop real maturity

THE GREAT SHELBY HOLMES MEETS HER MATCH

From the Great Shelby Holmes series , Vol. 2

John Watson’s known minisleuth Shelby Holmes for only three weeks, but he already knows sixth grade will be significantly enlivened with Shelby’s cases to solve.

John, an Army brat settled down for the first time, makes friends easily in his new Harlem magnet school for the arts. But though he loves his new multiethnic crew—they play video games, shoot hoops, and discuss Mozart sonatas and modern art—he can’t deny the thrill of solving cases. Even when Shelby is patronizing (always!) or rude to their clients (also always!), John’s excited, but maybe taking a case for their teacher who doesn’t want their help is just a tad over the line. To investigate a villainous private school headmistress, John and Shelby go undercover, Shelby disguised as prim little “Basia Rathbone” in one of several in-jokes for adult readers. John worries about lying to his mother as well as about being a black boy undercover in a rich neighborhood (something that doesn’t occur to Shelby, who’s white), but it doesn’t occur to him to worry about his diabetes. And it doesn’t occur to either of them that anyone could get the better of Shelby, until they meet nasty and brilliant, rich, olive-skinned Moira Hardy.

Charming and funny, this winning adventure also finds time for its middle school sleuths to develop real maturity . (Mystery. 9-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-68119-054-9

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: June 14, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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Medically, both squicky and hopeful; emotionally, unbelievably squeaky-clean.

MUSTACHES FOR MADDIE

A 12-year-old copes with a brain tumor.

Maddie likes potatoes and fake mustaches. Kids at school are nice (except one whom readers will see instantly is a bully); soon they’ll get to perform Shakespeare scenes in a unit they’ve all been looking forward to. But recent dysfunctions in Maddie’s arm and leg mean, stunningly, that she has a brain tumor. She has two surgeries, the first successful, the second taking place after the book’s end, leaving readers hanging. The tumor’s not malignant, but it—or the surgeries—could cause sight loss, personality change, or death. The descriptions of surgery aren’t for the faint of heart. The authors—parents of a real-life Maddie who really had a brain tumor—imbue fictional Maddie’s first-person narration with quirky turns of phrase (“For the love of potatoes!”) and whimsy (she imagines her medical battles as epic fantasy fights and pretends MRI stands for Mustard Rat from Indiana or Mustaches Rock Importantly), but they also portray her as a model sick kid. She’s frightened but never acts out, snaps, or resists. Her most frequent commentary about the tumor, having her skull opened, and the possibility of death is “Boo” or “Super boo.” She even shoulders the bully’s redemption. Maddie and most characters are white; one cringe-inducing hallucinatory surgery dream involves “chanting island natives” and a “witch doctor lady.”

Medically, both squicky and hopeful; emotionally, unbelievably squeaky-clean. (authors’ note, discussion questions) (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62972-330-3

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Shadow Mountain

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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A smart, fresh take on an old favorite makes for a terrific series kickoff

THE GREAT SHELBY HOLMES

From the Shelby Holmes series , Vol. 1

A modern Sherlock Holmes retelling brings an 11-year-old black John Watson into the sphere of know-it-all 9-year-old white detective Shelby Holmes.

John's an Army brat who's lived in four states already. Now, with his parents' divorce still fresh, the boy who's lived only on military bases must explore the wilds of Harlem. His new life in 221A Baker St. begins inauspiciously, as before he's even finished moving in, his frizzy-haired neighbor blows something up: "BOOM!" But John's great at making friends, and Shelby certainly seems like an interesting kid to know. Oddly loquacious, brusque, and extremely observant, Shelby's locally famous for solving mysteries. John’s swept up in her detecting when a wealthy, brown-skinned classmate enlists their help in the mysterious disappearance of her beloved show dog, Daisy. Whatever could have happened to the prizewinning Cavalier King Charles spaniel? Has she been swiped by a jealous competitor? Has Daisy’s trainer—mysteriously come into enough money to take a secret weekend in Cozumel—been placing bets against his own dog? Brisk pacing, likable characters, a few silly Holmes jokes ("I'm Petunia Cumberbatch," says Shelby while undercover), 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 . (Mystery. 9-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-68119-051-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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