Booklist starred (May 1, 2015 (Vol. 111, No. 17))
Grades 2-4. 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 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.