Renee Treml, Sherlock Bones and the Natural History Museum, Allen & Unwin, April 2019, 272 pp., RRP $14.99 (pbk), ISBN 9781760523954
I did enjoy this graphic novel aimed at 6-9 year olds. The story itself is simple but not simplistic, with a low word count. More thoughtful or older readers will probably realise who the thief is, but will also be distracted by the red herrings.
Sherlock Bones is a tawny frogmouth skeleton in the Biodiversity room of the Natural History Museum. His offsider, Watts, is a stuffed blue parrot who can’t speak, though Sherlock can interpret all his ‘whisperings’. They are joined on their search for the Royal Blue Diamond which has disappeared from its case, by Grace, the illegal immigrant raccoon, who steals chocolate from the Museum Director. If they don’t find the thief there’s a chance the museum will have to close. What would Sherlock Bones do then? The book follows the format of all good mystery stories: interesting and/or annoying characters, a good puzzle with several complications, subplots, suspects and resolution.
The reader is taken through the museum on the search for the thief. The illustrations are far less superficial than at first appear and add to the interest and humour. Included are the genus names for the animals along with their common names and location; gems; the butterfly house.
Recommended because it’s such a fun story. It’s not ‘high literature’ but it should get kids reading.
Reviewed by Maureen Mann