How to Be a Detective by Martin Waddell, illustrated by Jim Smith, is yet another fantastically fun interactive book from the superb Candlewick Press, the fine publisher who brought us the excellent Ologies as well as a series of amazing interactive non fiction books featuring Marco Polo, Charles Darwin, Charles Dickens and Cleopatra.
How to Be a Detective is definitely for starter-sleuths and is a very basic introduction to searching for clues, analyzing evidence and solving the case. Kids over the age of nine or ten might be a bit disappointed with How to Be a Detective and are probably better off with Spyology, which is more complex and detailed. How to Be a Detective comes with a kit that includes a tiny ink pad, a periscope and other goodies to help when the game is afoot. Waddell begins by introducing readers to Sherlock Holmes, including a letter to the reader from this great detective, and promises to help the reader "find out what it takes to be a sleuth and solve baffling cases." There are snippets from Holmes's casebook, instructions on how to analyze a crime scene and how to take fingerprints as well as tips on how to track and trace. Each page has flaps to lift and things to discover and ideas on how to use the tools that have been included with the book. Waddell takes his book to the next level with rules of surveillance, methods for observing people, how to make a "wanted" poster, how to collect the truth and weed out the lies when interviewing suspects, including a page on reading body language, and even a spread on handwriting analysis!
Speaking as someone who, after reading Harriet the Spy as a kid, ran out and bought a marbled composition book to write my observations in, a book like How to Be a Detective would have been right up my alley and definitely made my parents even edgier than they already were...
Dan Waddell is also the author of the fantastic book on another kind of detective work, Who Do You Think You Are?