Precious and the Zebra Necklace by Alexander McCall Smith
|Precious and the Zebra Necklace by Alexander McCall Smith|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Ruth Ng|
|Summary: Sweetly satisfying, this has mild moments of peril, just to keep you on your toes, but is really a lovely story of one loving little girl trying to help another.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 96||Date: July 2015|
|Publisher: BC Books|
|External links: Author's website|
There is a new girl at Precious Ramotswe's school. Her name is Nancy, and Precious is asked to look after her and make sure she settles into school. Precious, already a budding detective at such a young age, soon sniffs out that there is a little bit of a mystery surrounding Nancy and on discovering that all Nancy has left of her parents is a fading photograph and a zebra necklace she decides that she must try to help Nancy discover the truth about what happened to them.
In the adult stories about Precious, the books focus, for the main part, on rather quiet mysteries, so I like that the children's stories about Precious follow this pattern too. There is nothing dramatic about Precious taking on Nancy's case and, indeed, she tries to prepare Nancy for the fact that she may not find out anything. But I like her eagerness to help, and that in seeing the two very special items that Nancy has left from her parents, Precious' immediate reaction is to want to help her friend find out more.
Now, this is where things get a little more exciting! After doing some initial detective work, asking around for information and using some of her father's contacts, Precious discovers that they must go on a trip to a remote part of Botswana if they are to discover anything further. Precious' father, trusting her judgement, allows her to go with Nancy, and a nurse as chaperone, on this trip - rather refreshing for me as a parent since I live in a large town in the UK and I have to watch the entire time when letting my eight year old venture out just to the corner shop by herself! Anyway, Precious and Nancy make the trip, and although they mean to be careful they do, unfortunately, lose their chaperone and find themselves alone in the middle of nowhere, wondering if they will be attacked by leopards! Don't worry, this is a story with a happy ending, of course! Precious manages to find her way to the village, find Nancy some answers, and a whole lot more than either of them expected.
The illustrations throughout the story are lovely, very evocative of the countryside and the people of Botswana. I like the warm colours, and the soft gentle lines that somehow perfectly reflect Alexander McCall Smith's gentle, thoughtful story. The way this particular mystery plays out is rather lovely. I do often get emotional over books and I did feel a little tear welling up as I reached the unveiling of the mystery this time. I also have to say that since reading the story I've found myself hankering over a zebra necklace...perhaps Alexander McCall Smith should set up a side business in exporting Botswanan jewellry?
I'm a huge fan of McCall Smith's writing anyway, and it's always rather lovely to have one of his shorter children's books to slip through by myself as I have a quiet cup of tea. This is a lovely story, deftly written, delightful to read, and perfect for bedtime sharing or for those more confident in their reading to head off upstairs with by themselves.
You can read more book reviews or buy Precious and the Zebra Necklace by Alexander McCall Smith at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy Precious and the Zebra Necklace by Alexander McCall Smith at Amazon.com.
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