Precious Ramotswe is an admirable human being—at any age. Before she started her famous No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, Precious was solving mysteries for her classmates.
In the second book in this series, she is looking for a lost cow. The family who lost it are so poor their children (Precious’s new best friends) walk a long way to school in bare feet. Precious empathizes with Teb and Pontsho’s loneliness on their first day at the village school.
Instead of shying away from them like her classmates do, she introduces herself and talks with them. The brother and sister are so happy to have a friend that they invite Precious over to their house to meet their family and their pet meerkat, Kosi.
Over time, Precious grows very fond of the family. When she learns their pregnant cow has wandered off, she is the first to offer help. Using her budding detective skills, she shows her new friends how to follow animal tracks and how to leave clues undisturbed. She keeps a level head when negotiating with some unpleasant adults and devises a clever plan (that involves the meerkat) to identify the lost cow amongst a large herds of identical looking cows.
Iain McIntosh’s art reflects African culture. The illustrations, which are on almost every page of the book, include flat earth colors such as browns and reds. Decorative chapter headings include images of the meerkat.
Storytelling abounds in this book, as do the simpler aspects of life. Believing in and respecting others (including animals) is what Precious is all about.
Back material includes a recipe for Fat Cakes (similar to doughnuts), discussion questions, curriculum connections in various subjects, and a glossary. Recommended for class read-alouds and children’s book clubs.