Readers have loved adventuring with Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson as they solve some of England’s most dastardly mysteries for the past 100 years, but there’s one huge mystery that no one can seem to solve: When is Sherlock Holmes’ birthday? On Jan. 6, 2020, Holmes fans will celebrate the famed fictional detective’s 166th birthday, but it’s a day author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle never specified in any of the books. In “His Last Bow,” Doyle describes Holmes as 60 years old in the year 1914. That places Holmes’ birth year in 1854, but why was Jan. 6 chosen as his day of birth? In the 1930s, Holmes superfan, journalist, and novelist Christopher Morley decided Jan. 6 must be Holmes’ birthday because an astrologer suggested it. Fans doubled down on this belief because Holmes quotes William Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” twice in the series — the only literary work he ever mentions — and Jan. 6 is 12 days after Christmas. Additionally, in “The Valley of Fear,” Holmes wakes up disoriented on Jan. 7, almost as if he was out the night before celebrating something special! So, are you and your family up to the challenge of solving this mystery? Here are a few ways you can put the clues together. 1. Read: Dive into the original stories that created the world’s most famous detective. Read and exchange the books as a family, or have your little one practice reading out loud before bedtime. There’s no better way to experience the stories that have captivated audiences than by rereading them in any order, and you just may find a clue others have missed. 2. Research: Channel Holmes and Dr. Watson and become detectives yourselves! Read up on the clues, examine all the angles, and see what you discover about this mysterious birthday. 3. Host a Party: Host a Sherlock- themed bash to celebrate the
The World’s Tiniest Animals NOW YOU SEE THEM ... Often, it’s the big animals in the room — er, forest — that get all the attention. But a look at their smaller counterparts reveals a bustling world of fascinating creatures. From reptiles no larger than your fingernail to tiny primates that only come out at night, these animals are proof that size is not a limitation. Tiniest Primate: Madame Berthe’s Mouse Lemur Jumping from tree to tree, Madame Berthe’s mouse lemur is a tiny ball of nocturnal energy. At 3.6 inches long and weighing in at just an ounce, this is the world’s smallest known primate. First seen about 20 years ago in western Madagascar, it was named for charismatic conservationist and primatologist Madame Berthe Rakotosamimanana. While its body may be small, its large round eyes help it see in the dark, allowing it to catch insects for food. Found only in Kirindy Mitea National Park in western Madagascar, this species is identified as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. Tiniest Reptile: Pygmy Leaf Chameleon The pygmy leaf chameleon also calls Madagascar home, but at half an inch long at birth, it is much tinier than its primate neighbor and not much bigger than an ant. These reptiles are the smallest in the world. At night, they climb high into the trees to sleep — though, for them, this might only mean a foot or so off the ground. Just like their larger counterparts, the pygmy leaf chameleon uses its tongue to capture its prey. Tiniest Mammal: Etruscan Shrew At an average of 3.5 centimeters long and weighing about 2 grams, the Etruscan shrew is the smallest living terrestrial mammal by mass. These timid creatures aren’t keen on being startled. In response to sudden noises, they’ve been known to jump, faint, and even drop dead. Don’t be fooled by their small stature though; relative to their body size, their brains are larger than most creatures (even humans), and shrews have a higher metabolic rate than any other animal. Because of this, they must eat 80–90% of their body weight in food each day. Of course, these are only the smallest known animals in their respective categories. As scientists and conservationists continue to explore remote parts of the world, it’s likely they’ll uncover many more natural wonders.
famed supersleuth’s birthday! Debate the clues of Holmes’ mysterious birthday, and see if any of your guests have interesting theories.
We may never know the day the world’s most beloved inspector was born in fictional London, but as Holmes himself said, “... When you have excluded the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”
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