Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Shelf Life [kids]

The Mystery of Meerkat Hill by Alexander McCall Smith, 96 pages.
Fans of McCall Smith’s popular No. 1 Detective Agency series may be interested to know that he has also written two stories about Precious Ramotswe as a schoolgirl, which, although written for children, are also entertaining reading for adults.
At eight years of age Precious already knows that she wants to be a detective. She loves to discover new things, meet new people, and ask questions about their lives. In The Mystery of Meerkat Hill, she quickly learns about two newcomers to her school, a brother and sister, who have a clever pet meerkat - and a missing cow.
Here is a mystery for Precious to solve!
Solve it she does, with the help of her new friends and their pet meerkat. Then her ingenuity is taxed a second time when she must find a way to get the cow back to its owners.
The Mystery of Meerkat Hill is a charming mystery in which an ethical dilemma is presented. Set in rural Botswana, the story reveals much about the country, its people and their way of life. Illustrated by Iain McIntosh, it is the second book in the Precious Ramotswe Mystery for Young Readers series (following The Great Cake Mystery).

** Recommended for ages 8 to 11 years (?) 

Smells like Pirates by Suzanne Selfors, 384 pages.
Welcome to the wild and wacky world of Homer Pudding and his pal, “Dog”, who are back for their third hilarious escapade of the Smells Like Dog series. 
In this adventure, Homer, a twelve-year-old who loves maps, and Dog, a basset hound with a superb sense of smell, use the clues in a poem to search for the coveted lost fortune of pirate Rumpold Smeller.
Homer has just been inducted as an honoured member of a mysterious treasure-hunting organization known as LOST (Legends, Objects, Secrets and Treasures) but he faces some cutthroat competition from Lorelei, who heads a rival organization known as “FOUND”.  It appears that FOUND will stop at nothing to find Smeller’s treasure first, even if Homer and Dog are left to walk the plank (and even though no one knows what, exactly, the treasure is)!
Surprising turns of events, suspense, intrigue, mystery and quirky characters abound in this page-turning adventure which features a very likeable protagonist and his amazing canine companion.
The first two titles in Suzanne Selfors’ series are Smells Like Dog and Smells Like Treasure.

** Recommended for ages 8 to 12 years.

This review appeared in The Stratford Gazette on January 30, 2014. Written by Sally Hengeveld, Librarian.

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