What is it?
A story book.
Who is it by?
By Singaporean author Don Bosco and published by Marshall Cavendish.
What is it about?
This is the fourth book in the Sherlock Hong Adventures.
It is set in Singapore in 1891 and the protagonist is Sherlock Hong, 15, son of a local physician. He secretly joined the International Order of Young Seekers when he was in London.
The Order is made up of youths from around the world who uphold the truth and help others.
In this book, Sherlock and his friend Aisha are excited as the circus has come to the island. Along with a lot of other people, they are at the pier to try and catch a glimpse of the acts as they arrive. There, Sherlock thinks he sees the fraudster William Fong, who escaped in the first book (The Immortal Nightingale).
Something is amiss and Sherlock can sense it.
Later, there is an explosion at the Adelphi Hotel, where Sherlock’s tutor Miss Priya has been staying.
Miss Priya is missing and so is the book she was translating – The Sword of Lady Yue, an ancient sword fighting manual borrowed from the Hanlin Academy in China.
What can children learn from it?
Don Bosco is a good teacher of storytelling. Children can learn how to write and build up a story to a climax, then slowly taking the tempo down to the conclusion.
He adds in developments, like the new romance for Miss Priya, very subtly, making you appreciate the storyline even more, knowing that this will lead to something bigger in future books.
While this is a book set in old Singapore, his language and how he constructs sentences is very modern and children will be able to easily read it and go with the tempo that he has created through it.
One good inclusion in this book is a brief introduction to Morse code and a puzzle for readers to solve. This can lead children to the topic of codes and puzzles on deciphering them – something good for them to indulge in as they train their brain.
What did I like about it?
What didn’t I like about it? With this book, Bosco has once again set the bar for mystery / adventure books for young children.
I thought the pace of the book was just right and so were the small clues inserted in the pages.
The Morse code and puzzle were the cherry on an already lovely cake.
Bosco has a unique way of drawing the reader into the story and leaves you turning the pages eagerly to find out what happens next.
The wonderful thing about this series is you are never left guessing what happened previously. You can pick up any of the books in this series and start reading. Bosco fills you in on what has happened before as and when you need to know.
This is a writer I am excited for. I can’t wait to read the next Sherlock Hong book.
Where to get it?
Sherlock Hong books can be bought from Marshall Cavendish’s website (http://www.marshallcavendish.com) as well as from major bookstores in Malaysia.
Should you get it?