E is for Encyclopedia Brown


Encyclopedia Brown made me feel so dumb when I was growing up.

He was 10, but had all the answers.  I thought I was pretty smart, but I couldn’t figure out the mysteries most of the time.  It’s many years later, but I remember that in one mystery, someone said that thunder woke them up, and then they saw something in the flash of lightning.  Encyclopedia said they were lying.  I couldn’t figure out how he knew, but the answer was that thunder comes after lightning, not before.  To this day, that’s how I remember which comes first.

I loved these books, and they were my first experience with logic puzzles.  After I grew out of reading them, I read other mysteries, like the Father Brown mystery series.  (A good adult series, if you haven’t read it.  They’re by GK Chesterton.)  I also couldn’t get enough of those logic puzzles that present you with information, and you have to figure out what belongs to who, or who did what.  Like these.  And of course, when computers were just becoming popular, I loved Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego?

This series had a huge impact on me and the way I thought.  I learned that every mystery has an answer, even if I can’t figure it out.  It’s an important distinction in my mind because it helped me look critically at things that happened in stories and life.  Encyclopedia Brown taught me to pay attention to every detail, because any detail might be important.

Thanks, Leroy.

15 comments on “E is for Encyclopedia Brown

  1. grazona says:

    Great post! I’ve never read this series but I bet I would have liked them. I love how you still use something from EB to remember that lightning comes first!

  2. I.L. Wolf says:

    You just keep taking me down my booky memory lane! Encyclopedia Brown, my first real mystery series! I feel like the covers evoke more than even the titles do. So much fun.

    A Bit to Read

  3. Encyclopedia Brown was my favorite in 4th grade. I remember going to the library and checking out one after another. So great.

    I waste megabytes over at WALDINA
    There will be a new #AtoZchallenge post every day @ 10AM PDT.

  4. I didn’t read a lot of children’s books as a child. A lot of these series are titles I’m only vaguely familiar with.

  5. Tarkabarka says:

    There is a Hungarian children’s book where a girl is called Zsebenci Klopédia – a split-up version of our word for “pocket encyclopedia” 😀 I always thought that was very clever.

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    The Multicolored Diary

  6. joey says:

    I loved those books too! I remember two of them so specifically, the one with the bill and change, and the one where the typist inverted V and C. Great post, Good memories for me 🙂

  7. eschudel says:

    I never read Encyclopedia Brown, but I did devour Nancy Drew books. And there was another series of books with kid detectives that I am not able to remember the title of. Can’t even find it with a search of “kid detectives”. I mean, really? What good is this Internet thing anyway if it can’t read the vast, riddled-with-holes recesses of my mind?? Oh wait! Success!! The Three Investigators. Ok. Now I can relax. Phew! Oh, and BTW, I am enjoying your challenge posts 🙂

    • doreeweller says:

      Thanks! And I’ve never heard of the Three Investigators. But I agree with you about the internet. Pretty soon we’ll be able to type in “that one book I read and liked that had that girl” and the Internet will know exactly what I meant.

  8. Cynthia says:

    I read a bunch of Encyclopedia Brown books when I was a kid. I also liked his co-detective, Sally Kimball. I vaguely remember reading one mystery where Encyclopedia Brown solved the mystery by deciding that a hitchhiker was lying when he said he had been waiting out in the sun for a long time. But when the hitchhiker took out some chocolate to eat, the chocolate was firm and not melted as chocolate sitting in the sun should be. Something like that.

  9. […] E is For Encyclopedia Brown– My A to Z Challenge theme in 2016 was “Books that have influenced me.” This series was one from my formative years, and I reflect on them in this post. […]

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