Some kids want to be firefighters or ballet dancers or teachers or astronauts. When I was six years old, I wanted to be a detective. Mysteries were my first genre fiction addiction*; I didn’t turn to SF/F until I’d read through the school library’s Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Cam Jansen, and Agatha Christie collections, followed by my mother’s treasure trove of books by Donald Westlake, Lawrence Block, Dick Francis, and Mickey Spillane. Donald J. Sobol and Encyclopedia Brown started it all. To this day, I think of those books when I remember not to file my nails after taking a bath, or turn off a light so I can see out the window at night, or pause and pretend to think before giving someone an answer I know off the top of my head, or know which parts of a goose are dark meat. (That last one is in The Encyclopedia Brown Cookbook, which is even more awesome than you are imagining right now.) Some of Sobol’s work felt dated even when I was a kid, but the facts that earned Encyclopedia his quarters are timeless.
* Followed quickly by thrillers. I recall Elmore Leonard being rather startled that the nine-year-old had dragged her mother to his signing rather than the other way around, and I treasure my copy of Freaky Deaky inscribed “To my youngest fan”.
I think the world needs an Encyclopedia Brown movie, as long as it’s understood that Sally is a lesbian and Encyclopedia is African-American. Seriously, when’s the last time you met a white kid named Leroy Brown?