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Precious and the Puggies: Precious Ramotswe's Very First Case (Precious Ramotswe's Very First Cases #1)

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3.77  ·  Rating details ·  1,815 Ratings  ·  400 Reviews
A world first from Itchy Coo, this is a brand new book for younger readers, telling the story of the girlhood adventures of Precious Ramotswe, founder of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. Written by one of the world's favourite authors, Alexander McCall Smith, and translated into Scots by award winning author, James Robertson, this story will not be available in any othe ...more
Hardcover, 79 pages
Published July 23rd 2010 by Itchy Coo
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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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
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
Bev
Jul 29, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Kavita
A look at Precious Ramotswe, long before she became the famous detective we all know and love. As a seven year old girl, Precious has already started showing signs of the inquisitiveness and curiosity that helps her later in solving cases. She also loves to cook and eat, even at this age. She goes to the local school, where everyone is very nice. And then food starts disappearing and a fat boy gets accused of theft. It is up to Precious to find out the real culprit and prove it to everyone.

It ju
...more
Betsy
Dec 09, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Alaine
Jul 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a children's book, but I'm open to a good children's book here and there. It's about an hour long -- just the right length to get me through makeup and breakfast. The narration on this was really well done. I am now looking for the other Precious Ramotswe books.
Barb Middleton
May 05, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I'm confused. This looks like an early chapter reader for grades 2-3. It reads like an early chapter reader. But the reading level is 5.6 which means the vocabulary is at a 5th grade level. Huh? Typo? I'd be curious what others think about that... Maybe I can get a grade 3 teacher to read it and give his or her opinion. Hmmm.



Meet Precious. And no, it's not Gollum, the horrible hobbit from Tolkien's, Lord of the Rings. But it is Precious from an adult mystery series, The No. 1 Ladies' Detective A
...more
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
This is the first of the children's spinoff books about Precious Ramotswe, and it's a great deal better than the one I read first (Precious and the Mystery of the Missing Lion). Part of its charm are the illustrations.

While the resolution of the mystery is pretty silly, it's well within the traditions of children's wish-fulfillment stories, rather like Danny the Champion of the World. Precious acts much more like a normal kid in this story, and manages to champion the underdog without coming of
...more
Betty-Ann
Jul 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, je-fiction
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
Tessa
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
Tamarah
Jan 01, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: jf, ra-new
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
Hannah
Jan 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Lis Carey
Sep 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, children, fiction
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
Clare Cannon
Jul 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 08-12yrs
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. www.GoodReadingGuide.com
H.L. Burke
Jun 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love the voice of this story. It's very much why I read the older version of this series, and while simplified, it carries over well into the young version too. The morals are a little bit "plainly stated" but I don't think that's awful considering the simplistic voice ... I think too much complexity would ruin it. Good for younger readers and could show them a glimpse of how life elsewhere is the same in someways and different in others.
Melissa
Oct 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks, africa, children-s
In anticipation for the latest installment of the #1 Ladies Detective series, I picked up one of AMS's easy readers for kids. It's cute and follows a young Precious Ramotswe through solving various events in her childhood. I liked how he would put pronunciations in parenthesis and took time to explain things in Botswana for young children to understand. There's also some extra info in the back, a map, and some group reading questions.
Jennifer
Charming mystery for young readers. Having loved the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, I had to check this one out. Precious is just as lovable as a child as she is as an adult. Fun and quick mystery- good audiobook for a family road trip.
Moushumi Ghosh
Sep 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one cute story that shows the provenance of the detective Precious Ramotswe. She is only seven in this story but shows all the talent for being a detective. Very endearing and engaging!

Read because you like the No.1 Ladies Detective Agency series.
Cathleen
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.
Correen

Charming little story.
Lucy
Really cute, but the title sort of gives the whole game away! 3.5 stars.
Una Tiers
Mar 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fun, pleasant read about respecting one another from the child's point of view.
Lori
Jun 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a fun little book and well-narrated in the audio version. The kids (ages 11, 8, and 5) all gave it 4 stars. I would give it a 3 but I am not the intended audience so I am letting their review stand.
Bob
May 30, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very light short read on how Precious Ramotswe decided at age 7 to become a detective.
Eileen
Oct 06, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s, fiction
Children's version of this author's No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. This book is about his main character, Precious, as a child. She gets her start as a detective in school trying to figure out who has been stealing the children's sweets while they are out at recess. Set in Zimbabwe, it conveys interesting cultural information in a fun way.
The Rusty Key
Apr 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Becky
Jun 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this one. I definitely liked it. To clarify things I'll just mention that I have not read the book, No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, which stars Precious Ramotswe. This children's chapter book is the famous detective's first case. So if I like this one it isn't necessarily because I love the adult mystery series, I may or may not. (I do plan on reading the first book this summer, if all goes to plan.) I do find it tricky as an adult to judge early readers and chapter books because often t ...more
Lisa
Oct 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cruth
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
Elissa Schaeffer
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
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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...

Other Books in the Series

Precious Ramotswe's Very First Cases (4 books)
  • Precious and the Mystery of Meerkat Hill (Precious Ramotswe's Very First Cases, #2)
  • Precious and the Mystery of the Missing Lion (Precious Ramotswe's Very First Cases, #3)
  • Precious and the Zebra Necklace (Precious Ramotswe's Very First Cases #4)

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“You can lose a piece of plain bread and not think twice about it, but when you lose one spread thickly with strawberry jam it's an altogether more serious matter.” 0 likes
“But just because somebody has lots of sweets does not mean that he has stolen them. One thing, you see, does not always lead to another.” 0 likes
More quotes…