Set in Botswana and subtitled “Precious Ramotswe’s Very First Case,” this short children’s mystery story is told from the point of view of the main character from Smith’s popular adult book, The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. In this book, eight-year-old Precious realizes she may have the natural skills to be a good detective as she resolves to clear a classmate’s name when he is accused of stealing other kids’ food. Precious discovers who the real thief is, but in order to prove to everyone else that Poloko is innocent, she must come up with an innovative plan to catch the thief, or thieves, red-handed. Readers will clearly hear the other message in the story, which is to never accuse someone without proof, and possibly a more simple moral - Don’t be mean to others. Mary Pope Osborne, author of the Magic Tree House mysteries, writes, “A detective is born! What a delightful, breezy read!” Look for more of the young sleuth Precious, as Smith intends to continue the series with The Mystery of Meerkat Hill.
Reviewed by Jennifer