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Precious and the Mystery of the Missing Lion

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Well before Precious Ramotswe founded her Number One Ladies' Detective Agency, as an eight-year-old girl she was already solving mysteries. Here, in this delightful, new, enchanting tale for children, we see how the young Precious became the crafty and intuitive private investigator we all know and love! Find out as Alexander McCall Smith tells the story of in another adve Well before Precious Ramotswe founded her Number One Ladies' Detective Agency, as an eight-year-old girl she was already solving mysteries. Here, in this delightful, new, enchanting tale for children, we see how the young Precious became the crafty and intuitive private investigator we all know and love! Find out as Alexander McCall Smith tells the story of in another adventure featuring Precious Ramotswe.


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Well before Precious Ramotswe founded her Number One Ladies' Detective Agency, as an eight-year-old girl she was already solving mysteries. Here, in this delightful, new, enchanting tale for children, we see how the young Precious became the crafty and intuitive private investigator we all know and love! Find out as Alexander McCall Smith tells the story of in another adve Well before Precious Ramotswe founded her Number One Ladies' Detective Agency, as an eight-year-old girl she was already solving mysteries. Here, in this delightful, new, enchanting tale for children, we see how the young Precious became the crafty and intuitive private investigator we all know and love! Find out as Alexander McCall Smith tells the story of in another adventure featuring Precious Ramotswe.

30 review for Precious and the Mystery of the Missing Lion

  1. 4 out of 5

    Abigail

    Precious Ramotswe, Botswana's first female detective, whose story began in the adult mystery novel, The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency , here stars in her third juvenile adventure. Nine years old, the precocious Precious already has many of the skills of a detective, and when she heads to the Okavango Delta to visit her Aunt Bee, she has opportunity to use them. Delighted to participate in the shooting of a film, Precious and her new friend Khumo head out into the bush when the tame lion bein Precious Ramotswe, Botswana's first female detective, whose story began in the adult mystery novel, The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency , here stars in her third juvenile adventure. Nine years old, the precocious Precious already has many of the skills of a detective, and when she heads to the Okavango Delta to visit her Aunt Bee, she has opportunity to use them. Delighted to participate in the shooting of a film, Precious and her new friend Khumo head out into the bush when the tame lion being used by the filmmakers goes missing. They find 'Teddy' soon enough, but how is he to be retrieved, when he has (view spoiler)[joined a pride of wild lions (hide spoiler)] ...? The third of Alexander McCall Smith's four juvenile mysteries featuring Precious when she was a young girl, The Mystery of the Missing Lion (originally published in the UK as Precious and the Mystery of the Missing Lion ), was an engaging book, one that features the same kind of goodhearted characters and storyline as the first two titles in this mini-series. That said, it didn't grab me quite like the first two, and I found myself struggling a bit with my suspension of disbelief, when it came to the Teddy storyline. I'm no expert, but I always understood that lion prides were composed of one of two males, who vigilantly policed their number, preventing other males from encroaching upon their territory. Given that this is so, how would the pride have accepted Teddy? I also wondered a bit at Precious' idea that Teddy should be freed. It sounds nice, but wouldn't a lion raised all his life in captivity, a lion who was so gentle, do poorly in the wild? Can such lions be taught the skills they need to survive? I'm honestly not sure. Although I still enjoyed the story, as well as Iain McIntosh's accompanying illustrations, these questions were distracting enough that I subtracted a star, from what would otherwise have been a four-star rating. Despite that fact, I would still recommend this one, to fans of Precious' girlhood adventures, and to beginning chapter-book readers who enjoy tales of mystery and adventure.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    cute book. even though it is written for kids, it was fun to read as an adult. I have not read anything by him before this book, but now I am going to have to change that.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn

    3.5 STARS I'm loving this series about young Precious and her first adventures in detective work. I thoroughly enjoyed this story, as well, though I did struggle a bit with the resolution of the story about Teddy the actor-lion as, much as I appreciated the heart behind it, it just didn't really ring true for what would be realistic and appropriate based on my understanding of how wild lion prides work, though perhaps I am missing something. (If you don't mind spoilers, you can read Abigail's re 3.5 STARS I'm loving this series about young Precious and her first adventures in detective work. I thoroughly enjoyed this story, as well, though I did struggle a bit with the resolution of the story about Teddy the actor-lion as, much as I appreciated the heart behind it, it just didn't really ring true for what would be realistic and appropriate based on my understanding of how wild lion prides work, though perhaps I am missing something. (If you don't mind spoilers, you can read Abigail's review for a more thorough discussion.) Still, I highly recommend the series overall and look forward to getting my hands on the fourth book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Marianne

    Precious and the Mystery of the Missing Lion is the third book in the Precious Ramotswe’s Very First Case series by popular British author, Alexander McCall Smith. School holidays see Precious travelling to the Okavango Delta to stay with her generous and interesting Aunty Bee at the safari camp. There is excitement at the camp as a film crew is making a movie. Precious meets a new friend, Khumo, and they soon find themselves more than spectators. Precious uses her quick thinking and her detecti Precious and the Mystery of the Missing Lion is the third book in the Precious Ramotswe’s Very First Case series by popular British author, Alexander McCall Smith. School holidays see Precious travelling to the Okavango Delta to stay with her generous and interesting Aunty Bee at the safari camp. There is excitement at the camp as a film crew is making a movie. Precious meets a new friend, Khumo, and they soon find themselves more than spectators. Precious uses her quick thinking and her detective skills to solve several problems and even save a man’s life. As usual, this volume includes some educational content and is filled with charming illustrations by Iain McIntosh. This is a delightful read for young and old alike.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    Not as good as the first two but we still enjoyed it. There isn’t much to the mystery again, and it didn’t have as much of Precious’ insights on human nature as the others. But it was still fun.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Alex Baugh

    One of my favorite adult book characters is Precious Ramotswe of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series written by Alexander McCall Smith. Detecting was clearly what Mma Ramotswe is meant to be doing and she acknowledges much of her success to her father Obed Ramotswe, who taught her many skills as a child. Now, young readers can read all about Precious and her early adventures in detecting in a series of chapter books. The Mystery of the Missing Lion is the third book in the series. Here, Pre One of my favorite adult book characters is Precious Ramotswe of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series written by Alexander McCall Smith. Detecting was clearly what Mma Ramotswe is meant to be doing and she acknowledges much of her success to her father Obed Ramotswe, who taught her many skills as a child. Now, young readers can read all about Precious and her early adventures in detecting in a series of chapter books. The Mystery of the Missing Lion is the third book in the series. Here, Precious is invited to visit her Aunty Bee who works in the Eagle Island Safari Camp in the Okavango Delta in northern Botswana in Africa. Precious is very excited and on her first day she makes friends with Khumo, a young boy about her age. There is also a movie crew in the area, making a film that will be using a trained actor lion named Teddy. Of course, the kids are interested and soon the director asks if they can hide in the bushes and makes sounds of a guinea fowl to attract Teddy during a shoot. It is a fun day for Precious and Khumo who are treated like part of the film crew. And so is the next day, but later that day, Precious hears a commotion and when she goes outside, she learns that Teddy is missing. The next morning, Precious puts to good use the tracking skills her father had taught her, but there are no lion tracks to be found. Precious and Khumo decide to borrow Aunty Bee's canoe (with her permission, of course) and set off on the river looking for Teddy. They finally spot him in a pride of lions at the river's edge. Hurrying back to camp, a new search party is formed to find Teddy and bring him back. But is that the right thing to do? Precious has other ideas about where Teddy belongs, but will she have the courage to say something? The Mystery of the Missing Lion is a perfect book for young readers ready to tackle a higher level chapter book. The writing is uncomplicated and where something new is introduced, like the Okavango Delta, Smith gives a clear description/definition for his readers. There is a map of Africa showing where Botswana is at the beginning of the book, but I would have liked to see a more detailed map of Botswana, since there is a bit of geography to the story. At the back of the book, there is a page detailing information about Botswana and the geography that is also helpful but would be better with a map. Of course, in the Reader's Guide at the back of the book, there is pre-reading activities and one is focused on map work and the varied wildlife that is found in Botswana. People sometimes forget that Africa is such a large continent with many different countries, all with their own customs, traditions and cultures, not to mention landscape and wildlife. The Mystery of the Missing Lion goes far in helping kids understand what at least one country is like. There are spot black and white illustrations throughout the story by Iain McIntosh, giving the story a real feeling of being in Botswana. As an adult, Precious Ramotswe gives her father Obed a lot of credit for many of the things she knows and one of those is a strong sense of right and wrong. This comes through so clearly in this book about young Precious, making it a wonderfully gentle story for young readers. But Obed had also imparted a real love for Botswana, its people, animals and land in Precious and that too is already evident in this delightful young girl. So the same charming qualities that make the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series such a pleasure to read are present in this chapter book. This book is recommended for readers age 7+ This book is an EARC received from NetGalley This review was originally posted at Randomly Reading

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    Sweet story for young readers. Not all will agree with the ending, but if I say why, it'll spoil it! Sweet story for young readers. Not all will agree with the ending, but if I say why, it'll spoil it!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)

    It started back in the 1980s with "Muppet Babies," quickly followed by "Tiny Toons." You got a successful series directed at adults? Why not come out with a juvenile version for the kiddies, and just milk that cash cow for all it's worth? McCall ("Show Me the Money") Smith is well known for funnelling just about any aspect of his life into the gristmill of his writing, and poor Precious is no exception. Now don't get me wrong; I love well-written children's books, and I have read all of the Ladi It started back in the 1980s with "Muppet Babies," quickly followed by "Tiny Toons." You got a successful series directed at adults? Why not come out with a juvenile version for the kiddies, and just milk that cash cow for all it's worth? McCall ("Show Me the Money") Smith is well known for funnelling just about any aspect of his life into the gristmill of his writing, and poor Precious is no exception. Now don't get me wrong; I love well-written children's books, and I have read all of the Ladies' Detective Agency books more than once, and enjoyed them. I also watched the BBC TV series with pleasure (though they took more than one liberty with the text). But this "baby Precious" story was so darn condescending in the first few pages that I thought for a minute I thought I had strayed into an old episode of Mr Rogers' Neighbourhood. ("This is the Okavango River. Can you say O-KA-VAN-GO?") I was not at all sure I was going to read all 35 pages of it. I did manage, but was unimpressed. Little Precious is just sooo darn precious that I was doing some serious eye-rolling, and we won't even discuss the probability of the plot. McCall Smith does his character no service, and I wonder how much kids would like it. I may be an exception (which I seriously doubt), but by the time I was eight years old I could have read the adult Precious Ramotswe novels with no trouble--and I can guarantee I would have liked them better than this. I see there are three or four Baby Precious novels for kids. I think I'll give them a miss.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Damaskcat

    Yes this is a story aimed at children but it can be read and enjoyed by adults too. I like the simple language and interesting characters and the charming illustrations display well in this e-book edition. The young Precious Ramotswe goes to stay with an aunt and gets involved with a film crew who are making a film which features a lion. This lion ‘actor’ subsequently goes missing and Precious is involved in trying to track him down. This is a charming story and even though it is not as long as t Yes this is a story aimed at children but it can be read and enjoyed by adults too. I like the simple language and interesting characters and the charming illustrations display well in this e-book edition. The young Precious Ramotswe goes to stay with an aunt and gets involved with a film crew who are making a film which features a lion. This lion ‘actor’ subsequently goes missing and Precious is involved in trying to track him down. This is a charming story and even though it is not as long as the novels featuring the adult Precious Ramotswe it is still worth reading as the story has all the same ingredients as the full length novels. A good story for children is a good story for people of any age provided we set aside our adult sophistication and read it for its own sake.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Correen

    Sweet story for kids. I would like to see just a bit more accuracy about the behavior of animals, e.g., porcupines do not "throw" needles. Sweet story for kids. I would like to see just a bit more accuracy about the behavior of animals, e.g., porcupines do not "throw" needles.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    My kids said this was their least favorite of the three; my 7yo found the end a bit confusing. I didn’t actually get to listen to this one along with them, so I’m just reporting after his thorough retelling of the story. ;) He said he liked them in the same order as he heard them—first one was his favorite, then the second one, and this was his least favorite.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    Meh. It was cute but a disappointing follow up to the first book in this series. What’s fun about Precious Ramotswe tales is the mystery is real to us to. In this book, the mystery is pretty lame. A lion wanders off. That’s not a mystery!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Melinda

    Excellent YA novel to share with my seven year old daughter. Great introduction to mystery genre, love the beauty of Botswana that comes from the pages, and a young female character that is strong, curious, and charming. Please keep producing these stories, they are a joy to read and serve and important need in combating the saturation of princesses, fairies, and other flitty female characters in children's literature. Excellent YA novel to share with my seven year old daughter. Great introduction to mystery genre, love the beauty of Botswana that comes from the pages, and a young female character that is strong, curious, and charming. Please keep producing these stories, they are a joy to read and serve and important need in combating the saturation of princesses, fairies, and other flitty female characters in children's literature.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Heidi Van ry

    I've been reading this series with my six year old daughter and she has been really enjoying them. I love the African setting and telling my daughter more about Africa since I loved there as a child. I've been reading this series with my six year old daughter and she has been really enjoying them. I love the African setting and telling my daughter more about Africa since I loved there as a child.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Johnvano

    Keeping in mind that this series is written for young children, I still have to assessing this entry as the least of the three. Whereas the others seemed to build a character-rich environment for Precious and showcase the early seeds of her detection skills... this one seems cheap. She leaves her native village to stay with her Aunty Bee at a safari camp where rather than encounter the wilds of Africa, she happens instead upon a movie set. I hope this isn't the jump-the-shark moment in the serie Keeping in mind that this series is written for young children, I still have to assessing this entry as the least of the three. Whereas the others seemed to build a character-rich environment for Precious and showcase the early seeds of her detection skills... this one seems cheap. She leaves her native village to stay with her Aunty Bee at a safari camp where rather than encounter the wilds of Africa, she happens instead upon a movie set. I hope this isn't the jump-the-shark moment in the series. My twin girls (11) are already asking that I read them the original series (of which there are 15), in preference to the kid-light version.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Teri-K

    Not really a mystery but the adventures of a young girl in Botswana who always keeps her head and pays attention to what's around her. Precious knows she will become a great detective when she grows up, but why wait until then? She can practice her detective skills now, even if she's only 9 years old. In this story she travels to visit her aunt and helps when a trained lion disappears from a film company. I wish these stories had been available when my children were little. I think boys and girls Not really a mystery but the adventures of a young girl in Botswana who always keeps her head and pays attention to what's around her. Precious knows she will become a great detective when she grows up, but why wait until then? She can practice her detective skills now, even if she's only 9 years old. In this story she travels to visit her aunt and helps when a trained lion disappears from a film company. I wish these stories had been available when my children were little. I think boys and girls would both enjoy them, and they'd get a glimpse of life in a very different place from their own homes. It doesn't hurt that adults will probably like them, too.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    This is the third book in Alexander McCall Smith's "young Precious" series and it is such a sweet sweet book. I loved it. This is the third book in Alexander McCall Smith's "young Precious" series and it is such a sweet sweet book. I loved it.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Paula

    There actually wasn't a whole lot of mystery to this book, but I like that it's set in Africa, with experiences outside of the average children's book. There actually wasn't a whole lot of mystery to this book, but I like that it's set in Africa, with experiences outside of the average children's book.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    3.5 stars Very sweet book series for young readers.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Melissa King

    After my son turned five he decided that he no longer wants me to read to him as he can read on his own now. But thanks to the genius of Alexander McCaul Smith (and Jk Rowling) I've some books so irresistible that two months after the fifth birthday, I'm allowed to read again! Yay! The you Precious Ramotswe series is amazing. The stories are sweet and the characters are so real and interesting. The books are informative and promote thoughtfulness and creativity. We love the illustrations too - v After my son turned five he decided that he no longer wants me to read to him as he can read on his own now. But thanks to the genius of Alexander McCaul Smith (and Jk Rowling) I've some books so irresistible that two months after the fifth birthday, I'm allowed to read again! Yay! The you Precious Ramotswe series is amazing. The stories are sweet and the characters are so real and interesting. The books are informative and promote thoughtfulness and creativity. We love the illustrations too - very subtle, and I can see my little guys imagination running wild. It is a great way to learn about another part of the world. I highly recommend this whole series to read with kids of any age.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Steph

    If you are an educator and would like to include this work into an existing unit, this book allows students to discuss animal conservation and the ethics of keeping wild animals in cages for the entertainment of others. Teddy is a lion, and an "actor" in a film that is shot in Aunty Bee's village. Precious helps find Teddy when he wanders off into the bush and becomes part of a wild pride. When Teddy is found, Precious argues that Teddy should be able to remain with the pride and live the way li If you are an educator and would like to include this work into an existing unit, this book allows students to discuss animal conservation and the ethics of keeping wild animals in cages for the entertainment of others. Teddy is a lion, and an "actor" in a film that is shot in Aunty Bee's village. Precious helps find Teddy when he wanders off into the bush and becomes part of a wild pride. When Teddy is found, Precious argues that Teddy should be able to remain with the pride and live the way lions do. This text provides rich conversation amongst second and third grade students.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Moushumi Ghosh

    I enjoyed reading yet another AMS and especially one to do with Precious Ramostwe is always welcome. This is yet another prequel to the adult Precious Ramotswe mystery. I am right now steeped into children's literature so maybe I am developing a sense of what I like and what I don't. I felt that there was a bit of 'talking down to' to the children in this book, which if avoided could have really made it into a splendid book. I enjoyed reading yet another AMS and especially one to do with Precious Ramostwe is always welcome. This is yet another prequel to the adult Precious Ramotswe mystery. I am right now steeped into children's literature so maybe I am developing a sense of what I like and what I don't. I felt that there was a bit of 'talking down to' to the children in this book, which if avoided could have really made it into a splendid book.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Hazel Clee

    My 8 year old daughter and I read this book together, we both loved it. For me, it had everything I want for her to read about; a strong female lead, different culture and adventure (and not a mermaid, fairy or princess in sight!) Beautifully written with some lovely illustrations, it was the perfect length to keep my daughter involved without getting too bogged down with details. We are definitely looking forward to reading more from this author.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jenni Hoteila

    When I miss Africa a lot I read Alexander Mccall Smith's books to get atleast the sweet smell of Africa to my nose ❤. His books are so well written that for long time I thought they were written by African woman! His Childrens' books are also written in such nice english that they are easy to read even though english wouldn't be your mother language. And to be able to read how Precious became Mma Ramotswe, well, it is just very very wonderful ❤❤❤. When I miss Africa a lot I read Alexander Mccall Smith's books to get atleast the sweet smell of Africa to my nose ❤. His books are so well written that for long time I thought they were written by African woman! His Childrens' books are also written in such nice english that they are easy to read even though english wouldn't be your mother language. And to be able to read how Precious became Mma Ramotswe, well, it is just very very wonderful ❤❤❤.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Roberta

    I love the illustrations by Iain McIntosh. I had hoped for more from the story than it delivered. 2 1/2 stars. I have heard storytellers use techniques where they have some interaction with the audience or invite audience participation. It is effective when it is done well and annoying when it is not. Poorly done, it breaks the spell. AMcCS started right out being annoying with "That's a lovely name, isn't it? Try saying it. OKA-VANGO." Eyeroll. I love the illustrations by Iain McIntosh. I had hoped for more from the story than it delivered. 2 1/2 stars. I have heard storytellers use techniques where they have some interaction with the audience or invite audience participation. It is effective when it is done well and annoying when it is not. Poorly done, it breaks the spell. AMcCS started right out being annoying with "That's a lovely name, isn't it? Try saying it. OKA-VANGO." Eyeroll.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jenna Mills

    A sweet story with a happy ending. My 18 month old surprised me by asking for me to read it to her, so that's what I did. Even though we have finished it, she keeps asking for the book with the lion, so she obviously enjoyed it too! (we have moved onto Winnie-the-Pooh, which hopefully she will also like). A sweet story with a happy ending. My 18 month old surprised me by asking for me to read it to her, so that's what I did. Even though we have finished it, she keeps asking for the book with the lion, so she obviously enjoyed it too! (we have moved onto Winnie-the-Pooh, which hopefully she will also like).

  27. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    Wonderful audio book for my curious kindergartener -- only an hour long. Loved the sweet story. Just enough plot and plot twists to keep our interests, yet still age appropriate. Also, a great introduction to Britishisms and conversation starter about what life in Botswana might be like. I appreciate the chance to expand my little guy's worldview! Wonderful audio book for my curious kindergartener -- only an hour long. Loved the sweet story. Just enough plot and plot twists to keep our interests, yet still age appropriate. Also, a great introduction to Britishisms and conversation starter about what life in Botswana might be like. I appreciate the chance to expand my little guy's worldview!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Theresa

    What a delightful story; which I believe most young readers will really enjoy. Learning about the various countries of Africa, their language and more is fascinating. I even learned the language of Botswana is Tetswana! I've read all of Smith's books about Precious and her adventures but thought Setswana was a country; my bad. Fun book; glad I read it! 3 stars What a delightful story; which I believe most young readers will really enjoy. Learning about the various countries of Africa, their language and more is fascinating. I even learned the language of Botswana is Tetswana! I've read all of Smith's books about Precious and her adventures but thought Setswana was a country; my bad. Fun book; glad I read it! 3 stars

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kristie J.

    Another cute mystery with young Precious. Fun way to learn about Botswana and experience a bit of the culture and how people live in Africa (such as 10 people piling in the back of a truck to get a free ride on a long trip and eating "fat cakes" or homemade donuts as a treat). Highly recommend the audiobook version so you can hear the African accents. It's only one hour long. Another cute mystery with young Precious. Fun way to learn about Botswana and experience a bit of the culture and how people live in Africa (such as 10 people piling in the back of a truck to get a free ride on a long trip and eating "fat cakes" or homemade donuts as a treat). Highly recommend the audiobook version so you can hear the African accents. It's only one hour long.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lorraine

    If you love Precious, you will love this story of her as a child, even if you are an adult. I didn't realize until just now that this is a series. I think think this would be a good read for an elementary aged child, as well. Maybe the ending is a bit naive, but it would be a good starting point for discussion. If you love Precious, you will love this story of her as a child, even if you are an adult. I didn't realize until just now that this is a series. I think think this would be a good read for an elementary aged child, as well. Maybe the ending is a bit naive, but it would be a good starting point for discussion.

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