The Great Cake Mystery: Precious Ramotswe's Very First Case: A Precious Ramotswe Mystery for Young Readers
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The Great Cake Mystery: Precious Ramotswe's Very First Case: A Precious Ramotswe Mystery for Young Readers (Precious Ramotswe's Very First Cases #1)

3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  965 ratings  ·  281 reviews

Fans around the world adore the bestselling No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, the basis of the HBO TV show, and its proprietor Precious Ramotswe, Botswana’s premier lady detective. In this charming series, Mma Ramotswe navigates her cases and her personal life with wisdom, and good humor—not to mention help from her lo...more
ebook, 96 pages
Published April 3rd 2012 by Anchor (first published July 23rd 2010)
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Jan Rice
It's OK to be nice.
It's OK to smile
It's OK to ask questions; you may become a detective!
It's OK to be able to tell when adults aren't speaking literally.

Don't steal.
Honesty is good.
Thieves undermine trust.

Take care re misjudging others.
Avoid false accusations.
Connections do not equal proof.

Sometimes life calls for standing up to bigger people or to your friends.
Sometimes life calls for standing up for your friends.

Mysteries can be fun.

Parents can be nice.
Parents can be storytellers.
Growing up e...more
Rebecca Reid
The Great Cake Mystery introduces young readers to the lovely setting of Botswana and a precocious young girl named Precious who likes to figure things out. Although she thinks it may be many years before she’ll have a mystery to solve, it turns out that someone in her school is eating people’s snacks and she may just be able to figure out who has done it. With her father’s encouragement and her own careful logic, a detective is born in Botswana.

The book is a quick and easy read. McCall Smith sp...more
I would happily read Alexander McCall Smith's laundry list, for the delight it would doubtless be...but this is another sweet, funny little story that made me smile as usual. It is a prequel to the No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, about Precious Ramotswe as a little girl. It was published first in translation to Scots, to encourage Scottish children (and others) to read in that tongue. What a man, supporting worthwhile things with his talent.
This book is a young reader mystery, telling the story of Precious Ramotswe's first case. Precious is the star of the adult books, The No. 1 Ladie's Detective Agency.

There are so many reasons I think this book is very cool: 1) the illustrations are phenomenal; 2) it is a mystery for young readers; 3) the main character is a smart girl; 4) it is set in Botswana.

I have two significant complaints about the book. First, it seemed clear to me that it was written by a Westerner. I did not believe that...more
What a delightful story! Precious lives in Botswana and her father suggested that she should be a detective some day. And she thought, “Why not?” and soon her very first case landed in her lap. At school, someone has been stealing the desserts that the children have brought to eat after lunch. The children think it must be Poloko because he is a rather round boy who loves to eat sweets. However, Precious wants proof before she accuses anyone so she hatches a plan.
This easy chapter book is perfec...more
JF McC grades 2-4
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 p...more
After reading the whole series of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency I was intrigued to read the start and children’s version of Precious Ramotswe. This book is beautifully written and follows a simple but effective storyline. It is set in Botswana and explores Precious’ life at the age of 7, living with her father, listening to stories and wanting to help people. Already with a dream set in mind to become a detective, Precious sets out on her first case for her classmates to discover where many...more
There was once a time, best beloved, when the early chapter book section of your local lending library was a veritable wasteland of white characters. Oh, every once in a while you might be able to get your hands on Stories Julian Tells or My Name is Maria Isabel but by and large they were it, man. Then, in the last ten years or so, something changed. Suddenly there was an influx of great books starring kids of a diverse range of backgrounds and races. Different nationalities would sort of come u...more
Lis Carey
This is exactly what the title says: an absolutely charming story of Precious Ramotswe's first case, her first impulse to be a detective and solve a problem someone brings to her.

Precious is just a school girl, and this very first case concerns who is stealing the special treats the children bring to school, to eat in the school yard after the plain, nutritious lunch provided by the school. These treats are important to the children, and when they start disappearing, they are eager to identify a...more
Una Tiers
A fun, pleasant read about respecting one another from the child's point of view.
Clare Cannon
A gentle mystery that's a much simpler version of McCall Smith's Ladies Detective Agency books. It shows the same gentle, sturdy goodness in its protagonist (the younger Precious) who stands up for the weak and defends them against injustice. It's not an action packed or thrilling read, and would probably appeal most to avid young readers who have the sensitivity to value quiet depth above noisy thrills.
Sometimes a person's life calling becomes apparent early in their life. So is the case with Precious Ramotswe, already well-known in her adult life as the heroine of the The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. This, however, is the story of her youth in Botswana as she discovers and hones her detective skills. As the titles tells us, her very first case is the mysterious theft of a cake at her school. At first a boy named Poloko is blamed but Precious believes him to be innocent and is determined to...more
My grandson read this when he was in the third grade. We enjoyed the book together as it had enough charm to captivate the adult, but not overwhelm a younger reader. It was an excellent exposure to another culture where children were allowed to be a part of a mystery solved by someone their own age, but in almost another world. How exciting it was to read of walking to school and looking out for leopards that might drop from the trees or snakes lurking about unseen. The little girl in the story,...more
This a charming kids story is a prequel to The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. McCall Smith did a great job taking a series written for adults and making it work for kids. It works for kids without losing what makes the adult stories so wonderful.

The one flaw here is that I was hoping to get a little more of a ... I guess you'd call it, an emotional payoff. The story ends sweetly and without getting preachy, but I'd have liked to see the themes get tied together in a more sophisticated fashion....more
Cute. I want to say that the backstory for Precious is a little too on-the-nose, but on the other hand it is a children's book.

audiobook note: Adjoa Andoh does an absolutely lovely job with the cadence and spirit of the characters' language. A delight.
Baru tahu ternyata ada seri Precious kecil ini :P. Seri ini untuk anak-anak. Bahasanya tentu saja lebih sederhana. Kasusnya jauh lebih sederhana daripada seri dewasanya yang kasusnya juga kebanyakan sederhana :D. Bahkan bisa dibilang di buku ini tidak ada kasus sama sekali. Lah dari awal juga pembaca udah tahu siapa biang keladi kasus ini berangkat dari judulnya :P. Tapi sepertinya memang menuliskan misteri bukanlah tujuan utama penulis.
Buku ini memuat prinsip-prinsip penting dalam hidup yang di...more
A cute easy read. I really loved the illustrations. I enjoyed what he said in the back that he wrote it so it could be read in families. Love that idea.
While "The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency" was too fluffy of a book for me personally, this children's series about Precious as a young girl in Botswana is great. The plot is simple enough for 5-year-olds to enjoy, yet the cultural aspect and stories of life in Botswana even entertained a 10-year-old (and myself!). The story starts out with an interesting tale of an encounter with a lion, then leads into the mystery of treats being stolen at school. If you want to educate your children about anot...more
This mystery is mediocre to say the least. When I saw the alternate title on goodreads, I immediately figured out the identity of the culprits. Talk about depressing! Not only that, it wasn't highly detailed; there wasn't much suspense within the pages. Even if I hadn't read the alternate title, I probably would have still been disappointed to some extent.

With all that said, it does teach a valuable lesson about accusing others without any evidence. There is definite heart to the story and a goo...more

Charming little story.
Author: Alexander McCall Smith
Illustrator: Iain Mcintosh
First Published: 2010

Using a naive voice, McCall Smith explores bullying and leaping to conclusions in an approachable, accessible way. The chatty narrator's voice walks the line between appealing to a young audience and talking down to it - not an easy route but when it works (as it does here) it creates a timeless piece.

McCall Smith weaves African trivia with a light moral tale bringing the culture alive and making the people one of us bu...more
Precious Ramotswe of Gaborone, Botswana, is a fabulous character in Alexander McCall Smith's series, "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency." These cozy (not violent) mysteries have her solving all sorts of crimes in a gentle fashion as opposed to the murders most U.S. mysteries have as a focus.

This work is subtitled "Precious Ramotswe's Very First Case." It introduces her through a story her father tells about a lion being in their village. Sweets are being stolen from the bags in the hallway. A...more
Ms. Yingling
Precious lives in Botswana with her family, which includes her father Obed, who likes to tell her stories about life in Africa. She loves school, and everyone at her school is very nice and follows the rules, until someone steals a piece of cake that her friend Tapiwa had. Everyone in the school is upset and blames Poloko, who is an overweight boy who likes to eat. Using her powers of observation and a little bit of trickery, however, Precious determines that the thief is not Poloko, and solves...more
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Lisa Nagel
A simple, yet sweet little book about detective Precious Ramostwe's very first case. What I really liked about this book were the beautiful illustrations that are sprinkled throughout the pages. They are wonderful, unique, and really brought the story alive. As for the story itself, I found it a bit uneven, especially at the beginning. Occasionally the language feels too clipped or simple. For example when describing the animals of Africa, "There are many of these in Botswana: lions, elephants,...more
Cheryl Gatling
My husband brought this book home for me because I had read all of the Number One Ladies' Detective Agency books. This is a children's book, a "prequel" about Precious Ramotswe as a girl. I thought the idea that she began on her path to detective-hood as a child rather silly. But, OK, I can accept that she had a special destiny. And I thought sometime that the narrative style was a little cutesy, with a tad of talking-down to children. But I loved this book for one of the same reasons I love the...more
For all the fans of Precious Ramotswe, Botswana’s No. 1 lady detective — and there are legions — and for all the kids who think it would be fun to solve mysteries, “The Great Cake Mystery” delivers a sweet, fun story about how Precious got her start detecting.

There’s a thief stalking the school where Precious is a student — a thief with a sweet tooth. The thief is stealing cakes, bread with jam and other sweet treats from the children’s lunches. The other children focus on a fellow student, assu...more
The Rusty Key
Reviewed by Rusty Key Writer: Jordan B. Nielsen

Recommended for: Ages 7 to 10 for independent reading, or 5 and up as a read aloud. There is a message about the dangers of false accusations, but the light tone makes it suitable for younger children. Though the main character is female the book is gender neutral and the detective plot can easily be enjoyed by both boys and girls.

One Word Summary: Precious.

Full disclosure: I read The Great Cake Mystery with a bias. I was a tremendous fan of the H...more
Alexander McCall Smith's first book for children, though set in Africa, is accessible to children from around the world. Precious would like to be a detective, and soon she gets the chance to solve her first case. Someone has been stealing the cake and treats Precious' classmates bring for lunch. While no one has caught the culprit, some of Precious' classmates have accused a plump boy named Poloko of stealing the snacks. But Precious doesn't think Poloko did it, and she doesn't think anyone sho...more
This book definitely gets brownie points for being brave enough to try something different.

Alexander McCall Smith is my favourite author and I get excited whenever I hear that he is publishing a new novel. When I heard that this book was being published exclusively in the Scots dialect for the first year of its release I was even more excited. Learning languages is my favourite hobby but even though I grew up and was educated in Scotland it was at a time when Scots had very low status and was re...more
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Alexander McCall Smith is the author of the international phenomenon The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, the Isabel Dalhousie Series, the Portuguese Irregular Verbs series, and the 44 Scotland Street series. He is professor emeritus of medical law at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and has served on many national and international bodies concerned with bioethics. He was born in what...more
More about Alexander McCall Smith...
The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency  (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #1) Tears of the Giraffe (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, #2) Morality for Beautiful Girls (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #3) The Kalahari Typing School for Men (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #4) The Full Cupboard of Life (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #5)

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