The Case of the Missing Marquess – An Enola Holmes Mystery by Nancy Springer is one of my most favourite books that we have read so far. The story is about Sherlock Holmes little sister and how she discovers her own flare for solving mysteries and how to succeed in a male-dominated world (go, Girl-Power!). It was the first book we read with a female protagonist, but because it was a mystery with kidnappings and disappearances, the boys stayed interested as well.
I’m not sure I had discussion questions per se, but I did ask the group why they felt Enola wanted to run away at 12 years old to find her mother. We had some good discussion about how hard it was for females to have any power at that time; not being able to own land or have their own money. But the most interesting part of the discussion was when we talked about how Enola didn’t want to dress like a “lady”. When I asked the group if they ever felt they had to dress a certain way to be accepted, they immediately said, “no”. But when I prodded them about whether they felt they needed the latest DS Game, Silly Bands, or Sketchers, they started to realize that they were already getting caught up in peer pressure and advertising.
Enola has to decipher word puzzles her mother has left for her, create disguises, and rely on her sense of deductive reasoning to figure out her next steps. I Googled “Sherlock Holmes activities for kids” and found: http://www.beaconsociety.com/SherlockHolmesDetectiveClass.html which had many activities to choose from.
Starting with disguises, I brought up a flip chart and drew a simple face on it, then had the kids tell me what kinds of things we could use to make the face look different (hat, sunglasses, fake mustache, etc.). I also gave them paper to draw their own face and disguise it to make it pass for an adult. We then went through some ciphers and logic riddles that I had cut and paste from the above website to use as a handout (Enola Holmes – Activities). Just remember not to hand out the answers along with the riddles!