I Love Encyclopedia Brown by Donald J. Sobol

I can not remember a time when I was not reading or being read books. I checked out a ton of books from my local library when I was a kid. This was back in the day when you had to write your name on the library card. Quite a few library cards had my name listed over and over. I am sure that was true for all the cards in the Encyclopedia Brown books. I could not get enough and my love for them has never dimmed.

Who is Donald J. Sobol?

Before writing this review I had never researched Donald Sobol. It turns out he had a rather remarkable career. He was a professional writer who not only wrote 29 Encyclopedia Brown books but also wrote the Two-Minute Mysteries and more than 60 other books, both fiction and nonfiction.

Sobol’s Encyclopedia Brown series has never been out of print since it was first published in 1963. The series was awarded a special Edgar by the Mystery Writers of America, with good reason.

Donald Sobol lived to be 87. He continued writing the Encyclopedia Brown books until his death in 2012. Impressive.

I love this book because…

The Encyclopedia Brown books are a collection of short stories featuring a boy detective, Leroy “Encyclopedia” Brown. He is called Encyclopedia because he reads a ton of books and remembers what he reads. He helps his father, the police chief, solve crime as they eat dinner and he helps his friends during the summertime when his detective agency is open. What makes these stories so fun is that the solution is not in the story. All the clues are presented and then the reader is asked to solve the puzzle. The answers are found in the back of the book.

I admit I often read the answers without trying to solve the puzzle first. I just want to read all the stories. Not only are they cute mysteries but they have a recurring cast of characters that I enjoy spending time with. Encyclopedia is a good kid but he would be bullied regularly by Bugs Meany (the name says it all) if it wasn’t for Encyclopedia’s partner, Sally Kimball. Sally is the only kid to ever knock Bugs Meany down. Sally is my favorite. She isn’t as smart as Encyclopedia but she is a champion of the underdog.

When I was a kid I wanted to have a detective agency. These books definitely fed my imagination.

No book is perfect. This is what bugs me…

The only thing that bugs me is that this series is for written for children so adults may not pick them up to read themselves. Here is an idea. Get them for a child you love and then read them together. Your child will love being read to, you get to experience the mysterious world of Encyclopedia Brown, and you can solve the puzzles together. Just don’t be surprised when your child finds the solution first.

Why should you read this book?

I find it fun to take a break from thick adult tomes and just read a simple story that is still entertaining. It doesn’t matter which book you pick up. Each story stands on its own, from Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective to Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Secret UFOs. Don’t look at the answers before solving the puzzle like I do. Take some time and figure out the answer. Maybe you’ll be known as “Encyclopedia” too.

A Quote Worth Quoting

“Mr. and Mrs. Brown had one child. They called him Leroy, and so did his teachers. Everyone else in Idaville called him Encyclopedia.” Donald J. Sobol Encyclopedia Brown Boy Detective