Detective Gordon: The First Case

(Author) (Illustrator)

Product Details

$16.99  $15.80
Gecko Press
Publish Date
6.1 X 8.5 X 0.5 inches | 0.7 pounds

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About the Author

Ulf Nilsson (1948-2021) was a celebrated Swedish children's author, who wrote more than 100 books for all ages, winning numerous awards and translated into over a dozen languages.
Gitte Spee is a leading children's book illustrator who graduated from the Gerrit Rietveld Academie, a renowned academy of fine art and design in Amsterdam, and St Martins School of Art in London.


"An agitated squirrel arrives at a woodland police station and reports the theft of many nuts from his pantry. Detective Gordon, a toad, listens patiently. As snow falls in the forest, he investigates the area around the squirrel's tree. A long stakeout leaves the detective ignominiously trapped, frozen and immobilized, under a mound of snow. His first suspect becomes his rescuer and, ultimately, his law-enforcement apprentice: a young mouse named Buffy. After fortifying themselves with tea and little cakes, they study the evidence, track down the thieves, and mete out justice―tempered with mercy. Readers can join Buffy in pondering Detective Gordon's dual goals of police work: 'No crime / No punishment.' Illustrations include many appealing line drawings, brightened with delicate colors, and an appended map of the narrative territory. First published in Sweden, this involving, thought-provoking chapter book is utterly charming. Nilsson, who wrote the Batchelder Award-winning If You Didn't Have Me (1987), creates an endearing characters and a childlike sensibility through writing that is clean, precise, and amusing. A wonderful choice for independent reading, particularly for kids who become accomplished readers early, the handsome first volume in the Detective Gordon series is a rewarding read-aloud as well."―starred, Booklist


"Detective Gordon is a portly toad who would much rather eat cake and drink tea than solve crimes. Alas, being the only policeman in the forest, he agrees to investigate the bothersome case of a squirrel's disappearing stockpile of nuts. While keeping watch over the crime scene, our hapless detective discovers a baby mouse in the act of stealing. Gordon soon realizes that she is not the actual thief but just very hungry. He takes her back to the police station and in short order, bestows upon her the name Buffy and deputizes her. Now working as a team, the two go on to solve the case and catch the crafty criminals. Translated from the original Swedish text, Nilsson offers one of those unique books that deliver age appropriate content for young, but advanced, readers. This would also be a good choice for a read aloud in the classroom. The full-color illustrations add whimsy to the tale and perfectly complement this gentle read. VERDICT: Hand this one to precocious readers who have graduated from early chapter books but aren't ready for too much strife in their novels."―School Library Journal


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"Written in the style of a classic noir, but with plenty of humor and silliness, Nilsson's novel opens with a squirrel running to the police station on a quiet snowy night―one of his caches of nuts has been stolen. As Detective Gordon, a toad, investigates, he catches a hungry baby mouse stealing a single nut and takes her in, names her Buffy, and gives her a job as his assistant. Gordon and Buffy make a formidable odd couple: Gordon prefers to snack on cakes and drink warm milk in his office, while Buffy takes to police work eagerly and helps solve the crime rather ingeniously. Nilsson fills the story with friendly banter and dry wit that call to mind Arnold Lobel's Frog and Toad books ('Police work goes on all hours of day and night, but according to the type of cake you know what time it is, ' Gordon tells Buffy, explaining the finer points of being a police officer), and Spee's softly colored illustrations illuminate the tiny, cozy details of the forest creatures' world."―Publishers Weekly Online