The Great Cake Mystery by Alexander McCall Smith

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With school just around the corner, I’ve been reading lots of new early chapter books. This “department” is the most heavily used in our school library. Once the reading light has been clicked-on, the students move through these shelves like little lawn mowers taking in everything in their paths. The goal is to make sure the books on the shelf are worthy of their fresh enthusiasm. 

Here’s one that is: The Great Cake Mystery by Alexander McCall Smith. I came to this book knowing about Precious Ramotswe, the fictional detective from Botswana. Of course, six to eight-year-olds will not have met her before, but this book is a wonderful introduction to Precious and her beloved home. The story is simple and, of course, comes with a lesson, but its well told and clever. It definitely made me look forward to the next book in this new series. But…there’s a bonus – the illustrations by Iain McIntosh. They are simply stunning. They look like woodcuts, but I’m not certain exactly how he did them. No matter. They are so beautiful that I found myself lingering over every page. McIntosh is the illustrator of many of Smith’s adult novels, and I went directly to his website after reading this book. There I was able to look at more of his beautiful work, including a cover of the next installment in the adventures of young Precious.

Check it out…


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