Dutton Children's Books
Like many kids of my generation, I knew who Encyclopedia Brown was before I knew of Sherlock Holmes. Donald J. Sobol's "boy detective" has been going strong since 1963, and "Cracks the Case" is his 24th collection of bite-sized mysteries, perfect for grade schoolers' consumption.
Here, Encyclopedia Brown " aka Leroy " still solves minor crimes for the going rate of a quarter a day, including the theft of jewels, an author's autograph forgery, a crooked cookie contest and stolen stamps, among others. Each mystery is just a few pages, making them more attractive for short-attention-span readers. As always, the solution is not given within each chapter, but after the fact, challenging young ones to guess the outcome based upon the clues Sobol has given.
It's nice to know nothing much has changed for Brown "¦ except that the cases are much easier for my adult mind to solve than they were for my third-grade one.