Monday 10 October 2016

The Whites of Their Eyes - Andrew Clements - Benjamin Pratt & Keepers of the School Book 3

The Whites of Their Eyes
Benjamin Pratt & Keepers of the School Book 3
Andrew Clements
Adam Stower (Illustrator)
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
A Division of Simon and Schuster

ISBN 9781416939092

Having read 11 books by Andrew Clements in under a year I can now state he is one of my favourite middle grade authors ever. For the most part his books are a realistic fiction, but this series stretches that further than any other books of his I have read. This book represents the midpoint of this series, book 3 of 5. It follows directly after Fear Itself, which followed We the Children. In this volume the action really heats up and the days are counting down until The Oakes School will be demolished and the property turned into a theme park. 

In this volume Ben and Jill are trying to follow the clues to the secrets that were left behind that were intended to save the school. But because janitor Lyman is onto them they need to expand the team. They bring in the least likely partner and Ben's lifelong rival, Robert Gerritt. And every time they think they have found something that will save the school, the tables get turned on them. And time is ticking away. And yet the kids are determined and even have a few adults on their side.

This book really begins to explore some deeper themes, we have Ben dealing with the separation of his parents and their imminent divorce. Also we have Robert who has lost both his parents and is being raised by his grandmother. And Jill is dealing with her parents constantly fighting at home. They are also trying desperately to save their school, and now Lyman has rigged the school with sensors and even a beast of a dog after hours. Their troubles just keep mounting up. 

Adam Stower does dome wonderful illustrations to supplement the story. There are a number of full pages illustrations and also numerous smaller pieces throughout the book. And the story has really picked up its pace. Children will stay glued to the pages wanting to find out what will happen next. 

Clements writes great characters. I often find myself thinking about characters from other of his books and wondering what they are up to now. With this being one of his only three series after finishing this volume I am constantly wondering what will happen next. In this volume we see some huge character growth, both in Jill and Ben, especially in Ben as he revaluates his lifelong rivalry with Robert. Reading this book will likely spark some reflection in children, and how they relate to others especially those they struggle to get along with.

I have been hooked on Clements's books for almost a year now, and this series recently, I look forward to finding this series and reading many more books by this gifted storyteller.

Books by Andrew Clements:
Bird Adalbert
Noah and the Ark and the Animals
Santa's Secret Helper
Temple Cat
Mother Earth's Counting Book
Billy and the Bad Teacher
Who Owns the Cow
Bright Christmas: An Angel Remembers
(Adapter)Philipp's Birthday Book
Riff's BeBop Book
Real Monsters Go for the Mold
Things That Go EEK on Halloween
Real Monsters Stage Fright
Music Time, Any Time
Double Trouble in Walla Walla
Gromble's Haunted Halloween
Hey Dad, Could I Borrow Your Hammer
The Landry News
Look Who's in the Thanksgiving Play
The Mouse Family
The Janitor's Boy
Circus Family Dog
The Christmas Kitten
The School Story
Things Not Seen 
The Jacket 
A Week in the Woods
Slippers at Home
Naptime for Slippers
The Report Card
The Last Holiday Concert
Slippers at School
Slippers Loves to Run
A Million Is a Lot of Dots
Lunch Money
Things Hoped For
Room One: A Mystery or Two
No Talking
Things That Are
Lost and Found
Extra Credit
About Average
The Map Trap
The Friendship War
The Losers Club

Pets to the Rescue Series
Ringo Saves the Day!
Brave Norman
Tara and Tiree, Fearless Friends
Delores and the Big Fire

Jake Drake Series
Jake Drake Know-It-All
Jake Drake, Bully Buster
Jake Drake, Teacher's Pet
Jake Drake, Class Clown

Benjamin Pratt and the Keepers of the School Series
We the Children
Fear Itself
The Whites of Their Eyes
In Harm's Way
We Hold These Truths

Reading program Books
Karen's Island
Three Wishes for Buster
Bill Picket: An American Original, Texas Style
Hurricane Andrew
Ham and Eggs for Jack
Life in the Desert
Desert Treasure
Inventors: Making Things Better, Steck-Vaughn
Milo's Great Invention

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