I have long enjoyed the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith (now a delightful television series), so I am pleased to recommend another of his series to you.
This one starts with the novel, 44 Scotland Street, which introduces us to the characters living at this address in modern-day Edinburgh. My favorite, so far, is five-year-old Bertie, who is a brilliant boy. His mother, who treats him like a social experiment (the Bertie Project), has great plans for his intellectual development and has already filled Bertie's days with lessons to teach him to speak Italian and to play the saxophone; she has also painted his room a supposedly non-gender specific pink. Bertie, on the other hand, would like to be a regular boy with a name more like "Jock." He would like to go a school with lots of boys in uniforms and a rugby team; and he adores trains (the love of which his mother fears is a metaphor for something unpleasant). I am looking forward to lots more of Bertie in the other books in the series.
Here are the books so far:
44 Scotland Street
Love Over Scotland
The World According to Bertie
The Unbearable Lightness of Scones (will be published May 2009)