Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Benjamin Pratt & the Keepers of the School: We the Children by Andrew Clements

Title: Benjamin Pratt & the Keepers of the School: We the Children
Author: Andrew Clements
ISBN: 9781416993797, Atheneum, 2010
Genre: KidLit, Mystery
Rating: B+
Source: Advanced Reader's Copy from Publisher

First Line: As the ship's bell clanged through the school's hallway for the third time, Ben ran his tongue back and forth across the porcelain caps that covered his front teeth, a nervous habit.

Ben Pratt's parents are going through a divorce, so the last thing he needs is the school janitor acting weird and insisting that, not only is Ben the only one who can save the school, but he needs to keep a strange gold coin and trust no one. Ben would just chalk Mr. Keane's behavior up to being old, but the next thing Ben knows Mr. Keane is dead and there's a very strange replacement janitor hanging around. The school, founded by a sea captain in the eighteenth century, is slated for the wrecking ball; the land to be used for a new amusement park. Mr. Keane's death makes Ben wonder if there really is something going on, and he soon enlists the help of his friend, Jill Acton.

This skinny little volume moves very quickly. I love piecing together clues on coins and maps and blueprints, and the book truly comes to life when Ben goes sailing. Perhaps I'm used to the meaty satisfaction of a volume about Harry Potter, but We the Children was just too short. Ben and Jill are interesting characters, and the storyline is engaging. Unless each volume is published one right after the other-- quickly-- I can see both young and old readers losing interest in what is a very intriguing story. I hope that doesn't happen.


  1. Okay, when you say a book's too short, that means it's pretty darn good to me!

  2. I like the sound of this one for my eleven-year-old granddaughter. She just started writing her own mystery book because she said there were any good ones for kids. Now I can point her in this direction.

  3. Kathy-- True. Wanting more pages is a good sign!

    Margot-- I hope she reads and enjoys it!


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