Books on the Blog: Who Done It Books
by Linda Walker
Who Done It books help young readers and writers make inferences and draw conclusions. The opening pages of The First Case by Ulf Nilsson, a celebrated Swedish children’s author, illustrated by Gitte Spee, generates the questions of why is squirrel hurrying through the deep snow and what is the destination. The accompanying text arouses interest…” Wretched thieves!” cried a small creature as it scurried through the snow. “Thieving wretches!” It was late in the evening and the whole forest was asleep. It was snowing softly and beautifully. “Monstrous plunderers!” called the little animal in a trembling, squeaky voice. “Plundering monsters!”
In the forest, a terrible crime has been committed. 204 of squirrel’s 15,704 stashed delicacies have been stolen. Detective Gordon, the famous pudgy toad chief of police, and Buffy, Gordon’s policewoman mouse assistant, will investigate this dreadful act. The friends follow clues and explore new ideas as they search for the suspect and bring the case to a satisfying conclusion.
Nilsson employs vivid language to show action. …a few embers growled in the fireplace
…The detective huffed and puffed his way through the snow. His breath came in clouds from his wide mouth.
…The chill bit his cheeks and they looked like two puffing steam engines.
Gitte Spee’s artwork expresses significant plot actions and dialogue. The squirrel called Vladimir walked dejectedly into the prison. His tail dragged on the floor.
Spee’s illustrations provide opportunities to ask questions, draw inferences and conclusions as well as help introduce young and emergent readers and writers to the story elements of character, setting and plot. Older readers might use the colored pictures as a story prompts.
The Complicated Case is the second in the Detective Gordon series. In this mystery Detective Gordon and Buffy must investigate who is bullying the forest animals. A third book will arrive in the United States in 2017. Be on the lookout for these books which are fun to read and contain life lessons hidden within their pages.
Linda Walker was a teacher for 33 years with experience in several grade levels including teaching children with diverse learning abilities. She is a 2005 Fellow of the National Writing Project. For many summers Linda has facilitated writing specialty courses for the PAWLP Young Writers and Readers Program.