Sherlock Ferret and The Missing Necklace by Hugh Ashton, of Deed Box fame, is marvellously illustrated by Andy Boerger and a real treat for Sherlock fans of all ages, not just the children it’s intended for.
It’s a lovely cautionary tale of things that can go amiss if you encounter Moriarty, with thankfully Sherlock and Watson being about to save the day and help out a young lady in distress.
Contrary to the tales of Mr Holmes we are used to, these aren’t human beings that star this particular tale but animals.Sherlock Holmes is a ferret, John Watson a mouse (and, yes, I know that ferrets tend to eat mice, but these two are great friends), Lestrade a rhinoceros (even though he’s not a very big one), Moriarty a magpie (very apt!) and so on. It is very cute and amusing to see which animal the writer links to both existing and new characters in the Sherlockian universe.
I also adore how Boerger’s illustrations are old-school ink drawings rather than the modern ones we have grown accustomed to in children’s books.
The other awesome thing about this story is that it’s not just that, it’s also full of little educational hints, so children reading it actually learn new words and pick up some valuable advice without the author talking down to them. It’s a fun way of learning new things while reading a splendid story.
If you have children and you’re looking for a great illustrated tale to get them, don’t even doubt and go for this one. It’s exciting edutainment without being too dry or scary, so they’re bound to keep hanging on from the first letter to the last and pick up some new vocabulary in the process.
And if you’re an adult who loves beautifully drawn animals and/or tales about Sherlock Holmes, this might please you just as much.