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Encyclopedia Brown Solves Them All

Last updated Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Author: Donald Sobol
Date of Publication: 1968
ISBN: 0525672125
Grade Level: 5th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Oct. 2007

Synopsis: From the Publisher: Leroy Brown, aka Encyclopedia Brown, is Idaville neighborhood's ten-year-old star detective. With an uncanny knack for trivia, he solves mysteries for the neighborhood kids through his own detective agency. But his dad also happens to be the chief of the Idaville police department, and every night around the dinner table, Encyclopedia helps him solve his most baffling crimes. And with ten confounding mysteries in each book, not only does Encyclopedia have a chance to solve them, but the reader is given all the clues as well. Interactive and chock full of interesting bits of informationit's classic Encyclopedia Brown!

Note to readers:
•  This book is made up of several chapters. Each chapter is a different case that Encyclopedia must solve. As long as you read the 1st chapter for the premise of the story, you can skip around after that. At the end of each chapter, the reader is asked to guess how Encyclopedia solved the case. Read through the stories (and the explanation of the solutions) beforehand and decide which stories you want to use and what points you will emphasize during the reading to guide the students to figure out how Encyclopedia solved the case. We suggest skipping "The Case of the Super Secret Hold" and "The Case of the Wagon Master"

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Do you think Encyclopedia Brown is the boy's real name? Is it a nickname? Why do you think people might call him Encyclopedia?
•  Does anyone have a nickname? How did you get your nickname?
•  Do you use encyclopedias in school?
•  What types of things can you learn from an encyclopedia?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  "The Case of the Missing Clues": Do you eat cherries? Do you eat the whole thing or do you have to throw away some parts of it? Which parts? What do you think Encyclopedia is looking for on the ground?
•  "The Case of Sir Biscuit-Shooter": Do you think the thief is Uncle Barney? Why or why not? Who else could be the thief? How do you know?
•  "The Case of the Frightened Playboy": Do you think Mr. Mackey should be fearful? Why or why not? What type of food did Molly Haggarty bring Mr. Mackey to eat? What time of day was it? do you think the food made sense for the meal? Why or why not? Why did Encyclopedia cry "Don't eat!" to Mr. Mackey?
•  "The Case of the Hair Driers": If the driers were too loud for the women to overhear Mr. Jorgens, how else do you think they could have figured out what he said? If you can't hear someone, what can you do to try to understand what they're saying? Can you read people's lips? Who would be excellent at reading lips? Why?
•  "The Case of Cupid's Arrow": Do you think Mr. Holt tried to steal the diamond? Mr. Holt told Chief Brown to look outside for the diamond? How would he know it was there?
•  "The Case of the Wounded Dog": Go over each step of Mr. Harwood's story in detail, and ask the children which steps seem unlikely.
•  "The Case of the Muscle Maker": How long has Mike been wearing his suit? Does it fit him? How much weight did Cadmus say he gained? How long did it take him to gain it? What happens when you gain weight? Do your clothes still fit?

Craft ideas:
•  Teach the kids a magic trick or have the kids share a magic trick. Easy magic trick using crayons: Have the magician close his/her eyes and someone from the audience give the magician 2 crayons from a box. Have the magician feel the crayons, secretly scraping the bottom of the crayon under their fingernails. Have the magician return the crayons to the audience. Now the magician will open his/her eyes and tell the audience which crayons they gave to him/her. Have the magician check his fingernails without being caught.
•  Play the Deadly Dominoes game with the children. After you have performed the trick for them, allow the students to take turns being the magician. (Instructions provided)

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don't have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!