Detective Gordon: The First Case

From the Series Detective Gordon

  • Interest Level: Kindergarten - Grade 5
  • Reading Level: Grade 2

An award-winning illustrated detective story set in a friendly forest and first in the acclaimed series for beginning readers.

Detective Gordon – a mystery-solving toad who loves cake – has his very first case. Someone’s stealing nuts from the forest, and it’s up to Detective Gordon to catch the thief! Unfortunately, solving this crime means standing in the snow and waiting for a long time… If only he had an assistant – someone small, fast, and clever – to help solve this terrible case. Then Detective Gordon would be able to go back to doing what he’s best at: thinking, eating cakes, drinking tea, and stamping important papers.

A perfect first chapter book for children aged five and up by one of Sweden’s top children’s writers. This much-loved junior fiction series is illustrated in full color throughout and packed full of character and humor. Winner of multiple awards and accolades, Detective Gordon is a fun whodunnit mystery series to read alone or aloud.

Ulf Nilsson is a celebrated children’s writer in Sweden. He has written more than 20 books for all ages, including All the Dear Little Animals. He is a winner of the August Award and the American Batchelder Award.

Gitte Spee is a renowned artist from the academy of fine art and design in the Netherlands. She now works in Amsterdam as a children’s book illustrator.

Translated from the Swedish edition by Julia Marshall.

Read all the Detective Gordon series:
Detective Gordon: A Complicated Case
Detective Gordon: A Case in Any Case
Detective Gordon: A Case for Buffy

Praise for Detective Gordon: The First Case:

“KLA-DUNK! Another winner.” Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“A must-have for chapter book collections.” School Library Journal, starred review

“Full of warm humour and wisdom…with a feather-light touch.” Best Books of 2015, Horn Book

“A wonderful choice for independent reading.” Booklist, starred review

Format Your Price Add
Interest Level Kindergarten - Grade 5
Reading Level Grade 2
Copyright 2015
Publisher Gecko Press
Imprint Gecko Press
Language English
Number of Pages 96
Publication Date 2015-03-01
Text Type Fiction—Mystery
BISACS JUV028000, JUV002000, JUV013090
Dewey [Fic]
Graphics Full-color illustrations
Dimensions 5.9 x 8.3333
Lexile 510
ATOS Reading Level 4.0
Accelerated Reader® Quiz 170817
Accelerated Reader® Points 1.0
Features Awards, Original artwork, Reviewed, Starred Reviews, Teaching Guides, and eSource


  • Grand Canyon Reader Award Nominee, Short-listed, 2019
  • Booklist Top 10 Translated Books for Youth, Winner, 2017
  • Cooperative Children's Book Center (CCBC) Choices, Winner, 2016
  • ALA Notable Children's Books, Winner, 2015
  • Booklist Top 10 Crime Fiction for Youth, Winner, 2015
  • Kirkus Best Middle-Grade Books of the Year, Winner, 2015
  • Triple Crown Award Nominee, Nominated, 2015
  • Beverly Cleary Children’s Choice Award Nominee, Nominated, 2015
  • ALA-CBC Reading Beyond, Winner, 2015
  • ACL Distinguished Book, Winner, 2015
  • Horn Book Best Books of the Year, Winner, 2015
  • Booklist Editor's Choice, Winner, 2015



“This involving, thought-provoking chapter book is utterly charming. Nilsson…creates 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.”―starred, Booklist

PW Online

“Written in the style of a classic noir, but with plenty of humor and silliness….softly colored illustrations illuminate the tiny, cozy details of the forest creatures’ world.”―Publishers Weekly Online

School Library Journal

“The full-color illustrations add whimsy to the tale and perfectly complement this gentle read….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

Author: Ulf Nilsson

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.

Illustrator: Gitte Spee

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.

Lerner eSource™ offers free digital teaching and learning resources, including Common Core State Standards (CCSS) teaching guides. These guides, created by classroom teachers, offer short lessons and writing exercises that give students specific instruction and practice using Common Core skills and strategies. Lerner eSource also provides additional resources including online activities, downloadable/printable graphic organizers, and additional educational materials that would also support Common Core instruction. Download, share, pin, print, and save as many of these free resources as you like!

Detective Gordon

Detective Gordon is a friendly, philosophical, humorous, and thoughtful detective series following the adventures of the rather tired—and often hungry—Detective Gordon and his chirpy assistant, Buffy. Detective Gordon is something of a humanist, and keeps an View available downloads →