Title: Detective Gordon: The First Case
Author: Ulf Nilsson
Illustrator: Gitte Spee
Year: 2015 (US) 2012 (Sweden)
Summary: Detective Gordon is a toad in the woods who solves mysteries for the police department. His first case involves a squirrel named Vladimir and his missing nuts. However, because it has snowed recently any tracks left by the thief would have been covered up. So Detective Gordon sat outside the hole in the tree to watch. Soon the snow covered him and he fell asleep, frozen in the snow. Meanwhile a little mouse had come to the tree and taken a nut. Detective Gordon woke up but he couldn’t move. The kind mouse helped dig him out of the snow and walked him back to the police station. Detective Gordon found out that the mouse was just a hungry baby without a name. So he name her Buffy and offered her tea and cake. Then Buffy stayed for the night and slept in a bed next to Detective Gordon. Just before they fell asleep Detective Gordon asked Buffy if she would like to be a police woman. The next morning they found out that all of the nuts had been stolen from the Vladimir’s tree in the night. Not only that, nuts belonging to other squirrels, woodpeckers, jays, and mice were also stolen. Finally, Detective Gordon and Buffy found the thieves with all the nuts. The thieves laughed at them and refused to return the nuts. But Buffy had an idea. She taunted the thieves until they threw 204 nuts down to the ground, the exact number of nuts that Vladimir had stolen from him. So they gathered the stolen nuts and returned to the police station for tea and cakes. Although the thieves seem to have gotten away with their crime, Buffy was happy they were not brought to the police station so she would continue to have a place to sleep.
Literary Merit: Easy to understand plot. Interesting characters. Unique speech pattern for Vladimir who reverses his phrases, example ” thieving wretches/ wretched thieves”.
Kid Appeal: Quiet story with a simple flavor. Fans of detective stories and budding friendships will enjoy reading the story of a pair of police officers who would rather have tea and cake than solve mysteries.
Disclaimer: This book was nominated for the 2015 CYBILS Award in the Early Chapter Book category. This review is shared as part of the Round One Judging. It is solely my own opinion and not influenced by any other parties.