July 17, 2012

Saving the World For 25 Cents a Case

Ironically, I don't remember how I was introduced to the character of Encyclopedia Brown....whether I had purchased the book at a thrift store, or it was a gift from one of my parents. But in the news of Donald J. Sobol's passing, it's very tempting for me to open my box of old books and dig my well-worn copy out of storage.

In a strange way, Encyclopedia Brown was an introduction for me into the world of mystery fiction...and (kinda sorta) pulp literature. Granted, the mysteries were relatively simple (after all, these were intended for younger people), and there was a briskness to the writing (so much so that there was an entire series of books), but there was a great, engaging tone which....well, at the very least led me into loving The Three Investigators as I got older.

It's also a shame that, for our current generation of media-saturated kids, there really is not an adequate equivalent. Yes, there are television shows that appeal to youth, and for older kids you have your usual suspects (like Hunger Games), but a nice, well-paced series for kids....well, I'm sure the parents out there will make suggestions.

But it's good that the books are still in print - this past year, I've been fortunate to be able to share the gifts of my childhood with my godson Logan. This year, he received a DVD of the German-based adaptation of The Secret of Skeleton Island. But last year....was a new edition of Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective.

I'm sure right now, he's probably doing what I did at his age....bugging the local librarian about getting more Encyclopedia Brown.

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