Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Detective Gordon: The First Case, by Ulf Nilsson. Illustrated by Gitte Spee

Staff Review by Chris Hubbard

Detective Gordon: The First Case marks the delightful debut of an ingenious toad and his quick-footed mouse companion.

Not all Scandinavian crime novels are written for adults. Detective Gordon – The First Case is a sweet and funny tale for very young readers.  When a squirrel called Vladimir discovers that 204 of his precious nuts have been stolen he turns to Detective Gordon for help.  Gordon is an old toad who has a smart and perceptive view on crimes committed within his animal neighbourhood.  He is in charge of a small one man police station and spends his days eating cupcakes, drinking tea and nodding off while writing important papers. His favourite part of the job however, is applying his massive official rubber-stamp onto documents.  The “Kla-dunk” sound it makes is most gratifying to his old ears.

Detective Gordon soon realises that he needs someone a bit more nimble than himself to assist in solving this crime. He enlists the aid of a young mouse called Buffy and the pair soon become good friends. Buffy desperately wants to have her turn at stamping notes but understands that she will have to earn that privilege by hatching a plan to catch the nut thief.

Ulf Nilson has written a gentle and funny book and the wonderful colour illustrations by Gitte Spee only add to this book’s charm. The special relationship between the younger and older characters is warmly depicted and Detective Gordon's thoughtful and philosophic views on crime and cupcakes makes for a lovely chapter-book perfect for early readers or reading aloud.

Detective Gordon: The First Case, by Ulf Nilsson.  Illustrated by Gitte Spee. Published by Gecko Press. ISBN: 9781927271506. RRP:$15.99.

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