Sherlock Bones and the Natural History Mystery

Etch. (Sherlock Bones). Sept. 2020. 272p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780358311843; pap. $7.99. ISBN 9780358311850.
Gr 3-5–Sherlock Bones, the skeleton of a tawny frogmouth (a bird native to Australia), solves mysteries at the State Natural History Museum with his trusty sidekick Watts, an inanimate stuffed ringneck parrot who doesn’t talk (Sherlock offers interpretations as needed). When a royal blue diamond goes missing, the pair jump into action. Getting in the way of the investigation is Grace, a raccoon with a sweet tooth and a bit of an attitude. Sherlock resolves to find the missing diamond (along with some other missing objects, like the museum director’s granddaughter’s toy dinosaur) and manages to stay mostly out of trouble along the way. A Black female security guard is also on the case, so the question remains: Who will solve the mystery first? Sherlock gets to explore the museum, from the rocks and minerals gallery to the butterfly house to the dinosaur exhibit. Most pages are full panels, which helps young readers pick up on details. The black-and-white art leans toward simplistic and the museum setting could have benefitted from some color. The story runs a bit long, but the mystery will keep readers turning pages.
VERDICT This cute mystery with a flair for natural history makes for a solid secondary purchase.

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