Who loves Encyclopedia Brown? I Do!

Google Brown - Boy Detective (Google Brown Mysteries) (Volume 1) - Garry F Taylor, Alison Taylor

or at least I did when I was a kid.  Maybe I wouldn't love them so much if I read the books fifty years down the road.  And that is undoubtedly my problem with this book.  I bet it will be loved by its intended audience.  Me, not so much.


In the 21st century, Leroy (Encyclopedia) Brown has kids of his own, and his son Geoffrey, also known as Google, because he's better than an internet search engine, is following in his father's footsteps.


I like the idea of an homage to E. Brown, and it's neat to update it for modern readers.  


But I just spent the holidays with an eleven-year-old girl and a nine-year-old boy and their conversation was nothing like the ones had by the children in this book.


 “Wheelie! Are you okay?”  [Google Brown] 

“Don’t even get me started!” he replied, kicking a small rock forcefully.

“C’mon now, it can’t be that bad. What happened?”

“Well, remember that job I got over the summer, weeding and doing all that yard work around the neighborhood?”

“Sure! You were out working every day at someone’s house.”

“I sure was. Well the reason that I did it was to get this new bike that I had seen down at the bike shop. It has twelve speeds, heavy duty tires, and a suspension system, so you can ride it up hills and across rough roads without getting bounced around. My mom and dad said that I already had a good bike, so they wouldn’t buy me a new one. But they said that if I worked hard and saved my money, I could buy it. So I worked and saved all summer, and yesterday I took my old bike to the bike shop, sold it to Mr. Hunter, and used that money and my summer savings to buy the new X- 3000.”

“So, why aren’t you riding it then?”

“Well, I rode it home from the store yesterday, and just before I got to my street I saw Tom Hooligan.” Tom Hooligan was the leader of the trouble makers at school. They had formed their own club, “The Stompers” and their motto was to stomp out anyone who got in their way. “Anyway,” Wheelie said, “he saw me. Right as I was riding past his house, he jumped out in front of me. I had to use both the front and back brakes to stop in time.” “‘Nice bike, kid,’ he said to me. ‘How much do you want for it?’” “‘It’s not for sale!’ I told him. ‘I just bought it!’” “‘No, really kid, I think you oughta sell it to me. This is your last chance...’ he said.” “While Tom was talking, I switched the bike into high gear and took off. He started to chase me, but my new bike was too fast for him. When I got home, I pulled into the driveway, leaned my bike against the back porch and went inside. When I left for school this morning, my bike was gone.”

“Did you tell your parents?” asked Google.

“No, Dad had already left for work, and Mom was getting my little brother ready for day care. I knew she couldn’t do anything about it right then, anyway. Now I’ve spent all my money, don’t have a bike, and I’m probably going to get a lecture from Dad about not locking up my bike. And the thing is, I just know that Tom took it, if only I could prove it.” “We’ll see about that,” said Google. “Come on!” Google took Wheelie by the shoulder and lead him to the Stompers’ club house. It was still 20 minutes before school started, so he was sure that they would be there, rather than on their way to school. As they approached, they saw Tom and two other boys sitting in front of the clubhouse, throwing rocks at squirrels.

“Well, well, if it isn’t Mr. Smart Guy!” said Tom sneeringly. “What do you want, punk?”

“I want you to give Wheelie his bike back. Do it now and you can stay out of trouble.”

“Take his bike? I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Tom replied. “I’ve been here all morning, haven’t I guys?” he said, nodding to his friends.

“Yeah! All morning! Just like he says!” they chimed in.

“It wasn’t stolen this morning, it was last night!” Wheelie snapped.

“Well then it couldn’t have been me,” explained Tom. “You see, I’ve been reading up on astronomy, and when I heard on the radio yesterday that last night there was going to be a blue moon, I just had to see it. So me and the boys here all went up to Grover’s point last night where we’d have a good view, away from all the town lights.”

“Oh really?” Wheelie said.

“Yeah, we all went!” said one of the Stompers.

“And it was worth it too!” continued Tom. “I’ve seen some cool stuff before, but nothing like that. Seeing the moon, big and full and blue like that, I’ve never seen anything like it!”


Those of you who hang around kids, does this sound like the way they talk?  Maybe I'm wrong.


 Still, ten-to twelve-year olds might like it fine.  At least grammar and punctuation were well-done.  I'm thinking though, that today's precocious pre-teens brought up on Saturday morning mystery shows, might find the solutions to the mysteries a little too obvious.