Adult fans of Smith’s No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series will be queuing up to give this prequel of sorts to the children they know. This series starter introduces the author’s heroine, Precious Ramotswe, as a young girl solving her first case. Someone has been stealing treats from her friends at school, and suspicion swirls around a chubby boy named Poloko. Encouraged by her father, who has noted Precious’ powers of deduction, the sleuth decides to follow her instincts and prove Poloko innocent. The story is simply told—Smith has previous experience with children’s books with the Akimbo series—and it will work well for children new to the mystery genre. Adding to the appeal are McIntosh’s wonderful graphic illustrations done in red and black. A map of Botswana and drawings of the flora, fauna, and settings mentioned in the text will give readers a clear picture of Precious’ world. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Parents who devour the No. 1 Ladies Dectective Agency books will likely foist this upon plenty of agreeable young readers. Those were international bestsellers; this could well have the same future. Grades 2-4. --Karen Cruze
“A detective is born! What a delightful, breezy read!"From the Trade Paperback edition.
See all Editorial Reviews
—Mary Pope Osborne, bestselling author of The Magic Tree House series
“Told with an innocence that will captivate young readers, The Great Cake Mystery is a kind-hearted, feel-good story for all. Loved it!”
—Graham Salisbury, author of Under the Blood-Red Sun and the Calvin Coconut series
“Kids will love this kind and clever new detective. They’ll love the mystery, and they might even love the thieves. I look forward to more!”
—Patricia Reilly Giff, award-winning author of Wild Girl and other books
“Good for kids who like mysteries and stories about other cultures and friendship all packed into one.” —TIME for Kids magazine
“Stunning artwork. . . . A compelling plot and interesting secondary characters, especially classmates who are quick to make unfounded accusations and their teacher, who provides wisdom just when it is needed, will leave readers wanting more. One case where an adaptation from an adult book is as much fun to read as the original.”
—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“This mini mystery and its jaw-dropping illustrations will please proto-detectives, both large and small. . . . What [McCall Smith]’s done with The Great Cake Mystery is unique. . . . His fans will pluck it up like so many of his other books. . . . A really fun read.”
—School Library Journal
"Bold and striking, McIntosh’s chunky, two-color woodcutlike pictures present evocative images of the African setting. This is a story, and a heroine, with impressive dimension."
- Publishers Weekly, starred review