Cover image for Gus & Gertie and the missing pearl
Gus & Gertie and the missing pearl
Nixon, Joan Lowery.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : SeaStar Books, [2000]

Physical Description:
48 pages : color illustrations ; 22 cm
Arriving for a vacation on Holiday Island, penguins Gus and Gertie stumble into a hotel full of Bad Guys and have a beautiful, valuable deep-sea pearl stolen from them.
Reading Level:
500 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 4.0 0.5 44203.

Reading Counts RC 3-5 3.1 3 Quiz: 22611 Guided reading level: L.
Added Author:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
X Juvenile Fiction Easy Fiction

On Order



When Gus and Gertie arrive on Holiday Island, they find a haven of seagoing scallywags, riffraff, and ruffians. It isn't long before Gertie's precious deep-sea pearl is stolen--but who's to blame? The culprit is revealed by clues cleverly hidden in Gus's hastily taken snapshots. Can readers crack the case before it's too late?Joan Lowery Nixon's mysterious high jinks and Diane deGroat's rowdy cast of characters create a fast-paced whodunit for newly independent readers.

Author Notes

Joan Lowery Nixon was born in Los Angeles, California. She attended the University of Southern California where she received a B.A. in journalism and later an education certificate from California State.

She has written over 100 mystery books for young adults. She is known for her Orphan Train Adventure Series and other titles including A Family Apart, The Seance and Other Side of the Dark. Her works have earned her the honor of being the only writer to win four Edgar Allen Poe awards and in addition, two Spurs from Western Writers of America. She was a past President of the Mystery Writers of America.

She died from complications of pancreatic cancer on June 28, 2003, in Houston, Texas. She was 76.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 2^-4. When penguins Gertie and Gus arrive on a tropical island, they enter a fleabag hotel to get out of the rain and find themselves in the midst of a boisterous meeting of the Bad Guys Club. Too polite to leave at once, they join the party, watching the island dances and snapping photos until Gertie discovers that her valuable pearl necklace is missing. With the aid of a policeman and Gus' photos, they solve the mystery, catch the thief, and recover the necklace. The lively writing provides an undercurrent of humor, which will entertain readers as much as the mystery angle. Diane DeGroat's detailed, colorful paintings dramatize each scene to the fullest, creating a boisterous cast of individualized animal characters who play their roles with energy and wit. With plenty of colorful illustrations throughout, this short chapter book provides a good transition from the beginning reader section to the fiction shelves. Carolyn Phelan

Publisher's Weekly Review

Spirited alliteration and humorous illustrations propel this fast-paced beginning-reader whodunit. When Gus and Gertie, a pair of traveling penguins, hop off the ferryboat for their island vacation at the elegant Hotel de View, a sudden rain forces them into the nearby "Otel," Home of the Bad Guys Club. Inside, "rascally rowdies, wretched wharf rats, riffraff, and ruffians shouted and argued, pushed and shoved, and created a horrible hullabaloo." To "show them we're friendly," Gus begins snapping Polaroids of the proceedings. DeGroat's watercolors not only capture the juxtaposition of the conservative couple and the "scummiest swarm of seagoing scallywags," but after the disappearance of Gertie's "beautiful, valuable deep-sea pearl" necklace, her clever renderings of Gus's photos provide a trail to the thief. Although the scallywags ultimately help in the pursuit of the culprit, Gus and Gertie's wholehearted embrace of the bad guys (who after all collaborated in lifting her jewel) is abrupt. Still, one can hardly blame the couple: the Bad Guys look like much more fun than obtuse Gus and Gertie. Ages 6-9. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 1-4-In this easy chapter book, Gus and Gertie, two homespun penguins, arrive at Holiday Island ready for their vacation at the elegant Hotel de View. Caught in a sudden deluge, they duck into a dilapidated hotel for shelter. Inside, they find themselves surrounded by a swarm of partying, "scummy seagoing scallywags." The desk clerk notices that Gertie is wearing a beautiful and quite valuable deep-sea pearl, and within minutes her precious necklace is heisted. Luckily, Gus has been snapping photos with his Polaroid. The unhappy victim scrutinizes each picture, but as soon as one scoundrel is sighted with his hands on the pearl, another snatches it away. Eventually, the photos provide the clues that solve the mystery. DeGroat's full-color, sassy illustrations scamper across every page, leading readers on a rollicking romp through this fast-paced mystery. Nixon's use of alliteration ("an agile alligator," "wretched wharf rats," and "rascally rowdies") adds to the fun. Readers will look forward to further humorous adventures starring this likable pair.-Karen Land, Greenport Public School, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.