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Encyclopedia Brown Keeps the Peace: 12/07/06

Encyclopedia Brown Keeps the Peace

The Encyclopedia Brown books remind me of The Tuesday Club Murders by Agatha Christie except aimed at elementary school aged readers. Encyclopedia Brown Keeps the Peace has ten short capers (each about seven pages long). Each chapter ends with a challenge to the reader to solve the case. These mysteries are more a case of reading comprehension than actual sleuthing. The solutions to the case are often times too simplistic.

For example, one of the capers ends with a character being disqualified because he did some darkroom trickery on his photograph and therefore couldn't win the photography prize. Most photography contests have a category for composite work but the story never fully states whether or not this contest does as well. The story would have been better if it had included something about the character being in the nonfiction category where composite work or double exposures couldn't be used.

Another caper that got under my skin was the fault of the book being dated more than anything. The clue centers around Palestine and the solution given in the back of the book basically says that it can't be Palestine because it's not a real country. Palestine's unfortunate status is not the point of the clue. The fact that the other places named were cities was clue enough. Where is Palestine a city and not a country (or former country or whatever it is depending on the political situation du jour)?

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