One case where an adaptation from an adult book is as much fun to read as the original.

READ REVIEW

THE GREAT CAKE MYSTERY

PRECIOUS RAMOTSWE'S VERY FIRST CASE

How did Precious Ramotswe, the detective in the bestselling The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, get her start?

McCall Smith has penned the story of Precious’ very first case, taken on when she was just a schoolgirl. Someone has been stealing bread and sweets from the children’s lunches and one round boy, Poloko, is accused of the crime. Precious has a knack for people, and she trusts Poloko’s story, even when his sticky fingers point to guilt. Filling his story with fully realized secondary characters and a sumptuous Botswanan setting, McCall Smith creates the same warm community in this series that his adult readers appreciate. Readers see Precious’ understanding of human nature and powers of observation. The stunning artwork in this chapter book has the look of woodcuts and old-time three-color separation illustration. It extends the story, immersing readers in the village life of Botswana. When a new character is introduced, McIntosh explores either the actual name or its pronunciation in bold red capital letters. 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. (Mystery. 7-12)

Pub Date: April 3, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-94944-8

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Anchor

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2012

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Written in workhorse prose, it’s an amiable enough read.

ALI CROSS

The prolific king of the beach read is back with an intergenerational mystery for the 9-to-12-year-old set.

Ali Cross, the son of Patterson’s most famous creation, African American homicide detective Alex Cross, is “starting to think the worst might have happened” to his mixed-race friend Gabriel “Gabe” Qualls, who disappeared on Dec. 21 and hasn’t been heard from as of Christmas Eve, when the book opens. Ali offers an impromptu prayer for Gabe at the pre-holiday service at his all-black church as well as an impromptu press conference outside of it as journalists and paparazzi confront Alex about his alleged coma-inducing assault of a murder suspect’s father. Then someone robs the Crosses’ home that night along with four other homes; the Crosses’ Christmas gifts are stolen. Ali, obsessed with finding Gabe and feeling that these events will distract his dad and the police from searching for him, starts his own investigation—complete with looking at some contraband footage of Gabe’s unusually loaded backpack obtained by Ali’s stepmother, also a cop—and questioning his school and gaming pals, a diverse group. Writing in Ali’s voice with occasional cutaways to third-person chapters that follow Alex, Patterson sprinkles the narrative with pop-culture references even as he takes readers through the detective process.

Written in workhorse prose, it’s an amiable enough read. (Mystery. 9-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 25, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-316-53041-5

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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A high-seas adventure that will entice even the most confirmed of landlubbers. (Adventure. 8-12)

TREASURE HUNTERS

The disappearance of their parents inspires four children to take over the family business: treasure hunting.

Raised on board a ship and schooled in sailing, navigation, scuba and karate, Tommy, Storm, Bick and Beck are no strangers to adventure. When their father, professor Tom Kidd, is washed overboard in a storm, it is up to the four young fortune hunters to follow the clues and try to rescue their missing mother. But it is hard to know whom to trust when your allies are shady black-market dealers and spies and your enemies are ruthless pirates and dangerous surfer dudes. Luckily, the Kidd kids’ assets include Storm’s photographic memory, Tommy’s calm disposition, Beck’s hard-nosed negotiation skills and narrator Bick’s optimism. But even the most sea-hearty adventurers might flounder when facing the Pirate King. Wacky hijinks, a can’t-miss setting and quirky characters keep this breezy story afloat. A fast-moving plot, copious illustrations and short chapters will encourage even reluctant readers to test the waters. This new series promises it all: ruthless pirates, CIA spies, terrorists, stolen works of art and priceless treasure. More important, it delivers.

A high-seas adventure that will entice even the most confirmed of landlubbers. (Adventure. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-316-20756-0

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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