You may have realised if you have read my blog before that I do love a mystery: historical, contemporary, fantastical- I’m in my happy place when I can play in the world of a mystery.
And so are my daughters, which is why I’m absolutely loving the current wave of young illustrated mysteries, and even more so as many are featuring protagonists with Asian heritage offering opportunities for representation and empathy.
Sindhu and her best friend Jeet are about to set off on a summer holiday to London with her parents. The pair have solved mysteries before and have their own Detective Agency, but whilst Sindhu is always ‘on alert’ for a mystery, Jeet just wants to be a tourist this time, even though he has brought his special spy pen with them!!
Three opportunities to use their skills, knowledge and spy pen to save the day will present themselves across this holiday starting in the airport itself!!
Hot on the heels of Anisha and Zaiba comes Sindhu and Jeet, but with difference as this duo are perfect for children who aren’t quite ready to take on the full length novels. Aligning to the Grey Book Band this trio of bite-sized adventure mysteries are perfect for building confidence, stamina and engagement in reading.
The vocabulary is careful chosen to feel natural, but with enough stretch to improve both vocabulary and understanding and speckled throughout a little insight and understanding of Sindhu’s family’s lives and culture back in India such as the use of conch shells in religious practice.
Even though she didn’t want to, Sindhu instinctively looked. That’s what detectives did.
Sindhu and Jeet are both relatable children and excellent role models to the young reader and I know if I had read this as a child I would be making my own O.W.L handbook and playing Count The Objects! I also loved how Chitra managed to incorporate responsible, present parents whilst equally giving the space for the children to be the heroes and solve the puzzle. This is something that has been continually raised in children’s adventures so it is beautiful to see how naturally this happens in Sindhu and Jeet, how supportive and understanding Sindhu’s parents are of her, even with dad moaning about the cafe prices whilst the children gaze adoring at the cakes (which is VERY relatable- my husbands phrase is ‘HOW MUCH!’)
Overall, it was lovely to see action packed and thrilling mysteries within this targeted age range paving the way for illustrated chapter books and into middle grade mysteries.
Sindhu and Jeet Detective Agency by Chitra Soundar and illustrated by Amberin Huq is published by Bloomsbury Education.