Now, instead of trying to keep up my neglected book review blogs, I'm going to attempt to post weekly (on Mondays) about the children's books I've been perusing. If you're interested in my motives for such an endeavor, here's an explanation.
The Mystery of Meerkat Hill
The Mystery of Meerkat Hill by Alexander McCall Smith is a library find for me. (You'll find that most of the books I review are ones I pluck randomly off the shelf in the kid's section.) It's a good find. Precious, actually.
The main character in this mystery for early independent readers is a girl named Precious, and she lives in Botswana. In this, the second in a series, Precious makes two new friends at school and helps them with a big problem.
Much more than a formulaic mystery for young readers, this tale weaves together good values and friendship in a framework of beautiful storytelling. Throw in interesting factual details about animals and life in Botswana and lovely illustrations by Iain McIntosh, and you've got a good read for children.
Although Precious is a girl, this is a book that isn't "girlie". My 10-year-old son enjoyed it, and I suspect it would be enjoyed by readers as young as 5.
Eventually I might even come up with a rating system, but for now, I'll just tell you it's worth a read. I found nothing offensive, and it was so refreshing after having read so many books for younger readers that are just passable because the words are easy.
I do hope to read the rest of the series some day, including the first which is The Great Cake Mystery. Perhaps you'd rather start by reading that one first.