Author and illustrator John Steven Gurney grew up in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. He studied art at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York and drew caricatures on the boardwalk in Atlantic City, New Jersey during the summers. While in college, he won a national poster contest for Molson's Golden Ale which appeared in Rolling Stone magazine. It was seen by the art directors at Ariel Books and led to his first picture book assignment. He is the illustrator of over 100 children's books including all of the titles in The Bailey School Kids and The A to Z Mysteries series. His illustrations have also appeared in children's magazines like Cricket, Babybug, and Ladybird as well as non-children's magazines like TV Guide and National Lampoon. He also illustrated the board game Guess Who for Milton Bradley. He currently lives in Brattleboro, Vermont with his wife and two children. 030
A to Z Mysteries is a popular children's novel series written by Ron Roy and published by Random House. The series is generally considered among the best easy readers for young children. There are twenty-six books in the series, one for each letter of the alphabet. The series begins with The Absent Author, published in 1997, and ends with The Zombie Zone, published in 2005.
The books follow the adventures of three junior detectives, Donald David Dink Duncan, Joshua Josh Pinto, and Ruth Rose Hathaway. They are nine years old and live in Green Lawn, a fictional town in Connecticut, United States. Due to having the same author as the Capital Mysteries, the main characters' paths cross with KC and Marshall (the other series' main characters) and they become friends.
The A to Z Mysteries have also led to a spinoff series called Calendar Mysteries, starting with January Joker. The series is aimed at second and third graders and focuses on Dink's cousin Lucy, Josh's younger twin brothers Brian and Bradley, and Ruth Rose's younger brother Nate. The main characters from A to Z Mysteries also make occasional appearances. While A to Z Mysteries focused on alliterating the alphabet to book titles, Calendar Mysteries relates the titles and themes to the different months of the year. The time and settings of each book often correspond to various holidays in a given month. Following January Joker, the book titles include February Friend, March Mischief, and April Adventure. May Magic and June Jam are books in progress, because he needs to check for errors.