Summer Book Review

The Great Cake Mystery: Precious Ramotswe’s Very First Case

By Alexander McCall Smith

July 15, 2012

Genre: Mystery

Number of pages: 96

What's the basic story line?

This book* explains how Precious Ramotswe, a girl from Botswana, becomes a detective. It all starts when her classmate Tapiwa brings a slice of cake to school.  After lunch that day, Tapiwa realizes that her cake is gone. The next day, the same thing happens to a boy name Sepo, but this time it's toast and jam. Precious hopes to find the person responsible for stealing the food. Her peers suspect another student in the class, Poloko, is the guilty one, but Precious doesn't agree. Who is right?  Read this book to find out!

Kid Reporter
Elise Jonas-Delson

Are the characters believable? Explain.

The characters in this book are believable. Precious is kind, and she reminds me of girls I know. Tapiwa does what you would expect her to do when someone steals her cake—she tells the teacher. Poloko is realistic too. His feelings get hurt, and he worries about what others think of him.

On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being best), how would you rate this book?

I would rate this book a 7.  It teaches a lifelong lesson about friendship. Younger readers will enjoy the illustrations along with the easy-to-follow plot. This short book is good for kids who like mysteries and stories about other cultures and friendship all packed into one.

*Note: This book is a prequel to Alexander McCall Smith’s adult series The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. 

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