Monday, February 10, 2014

The Great Cake Mystery: Precious Ramotswe's Very First Case (A Number 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Book for Young Readers), by Alexander McCall Smith (illustrated by Iain McIntosh)

The Great Cake Mystery: 
Precious Ramotswe's Very First Case 
Series: A Number 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Book for Young Readers
Author: Alexander McCall Smith
Illustrator: Iain McIntosh
Publisher: Anchor
Publication Date: April 3, 2012

Source: local library (digital)
View on Amazon

Author's website
Illustrator's website

Originally published in the UK
by Polygon
on February 1, 2012
with the title "Precious and the Monkeys"

Magda and I read this in one sitting. It's absolutely delightful! It's based on the character from The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, except it's her as a little girl, solving her first case. She's logical and adorable! My daughter and I were thoroughly charmed.

I admit that I've never read the Alexander McCall Smith series, though it's not for lack of trying. I must have started one or more of his books at least six different times, but I could never get into them for some reason. I'm not sure why. But I did love (LOVELOVELOVELOVE) the BBC/HBO production based on the books, starring Jill Scott as Mma Precious Ramotswe. I know I shouldn't admit that I liked the TV show better than the books but oh my god, you guys, it's sooooo good. The acting, the location, the theme music, the opening's a nearly perfect show. I only wish they had made more than just seven episodes.

So it was the TV show that I had in mind when I was reading this book with my daughter. But with the illustrations, the simple story with the satisfying and humourous ending, and the memorable (read: awesome) characters, it definitively ticked all the boxes for me. It was exactly how I hoped a children's version of a Mma Precious Ramotswe story would be.

The book was originally published as Precious and the Monkeys in the UK with this cover:

And if you haven't seen the BBC/HBO show, check out these credits. Honestly I could just watch that opening sequence over and over and over.

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